Dietitian Susie Burrell reveals what happens to your body when you eliminate food groups from your diet
A nutritionist has revealed what happens when you cut out popular food groups including red meat, dairy, eggs and seafood, and why other foods like pasta, rice and potatoes aren’t as bad for you as you think.
Susie Burrell, from Sydneyhe said while many popular diets these days eliminate entire groups, what we often don’t think about are the nutritional consequences of doing so.
We also need to think about how we can replace ‘forbidden foods to make sure we’re not missing out on something the body really needs to keep it healthy in the long term’.
A nutritionist has revealed what happens when you cut out popular food groups including red meat, dairy, eggs and seafood from your diet (pictured by Susie Burrell)
1. Dairy products
The first – and one of the most popular – group of foods that people cut out are dairy products, and eliminating them can have major health consequences.
‘The first thing we generally think of when we think of milk and other dairy foods is their calcium content, but dairy foods are also a rich natural source of magnesium, vitamin B12, phosphorus, protein, vitamin D and vitamin A,’ Susie wrote on her Web page.
‘If you don’t eat dairy, all these vital nutrients will be depleted over time.’
The dietitian explained that it is very difficult for adults to get the 800-1000 mg of calcium they need each day without dairy products in their diet.
Even if you drink alternative milks that are ‘fortified’ with calcium, it’s rarely in the amounts found in three servings of dairy, she said.
Long-term health implications of a low intake of dairy products and calcium include brittle bones and more frequent illnesses due to lack of calcium in the body.
If you must cut back on dairy, Susie recommends making sure you drink calcium-fortified plant-based milk regularly and consider taking a calcium supplement to make sure you’re getting the 800-1,000 mg of calcium you need each day’.
When you cut out red meat (photo), Susie said the key problem is that you’re eliminating one of nature’s richest sources of iron.
2. Red meat
Another food that many choose to cut out is red meat, usually when they are on a vegetarian or vegan diet.
‘But while you may choose not to include red meat for a number of different reasons, nutritionally the key issue here is that you are also eliminating one of nature’s richest sources of iron from your diet,’ said Susie.
Foods such as white meat, eggs, whole grains and dark leafy vegetables contain iron, but Susie said it is ‘poorly absorbed’ by the body compared to red meat.
Low iron levels are common in Australia, with as many as 25 percent of women struggling with low levels.
‘Low iron levels leave you tired, short of breath and with a weak immune system,’ said Susie.
If you still want to cut out red meat, the best thing to do is to ‘pay special attention to include iron-rich foods at every meal and snack,’ Susie said.
It is important to remember that adult women need between nine and 15 mg each day.
It may be a little less common to cut poultry, but if you do, you’ll need to think about the amount of lean protein you’re getting.
Lack of protein can lead to weakness and fatigue, loss of muscle mass, sugar cravings and risk of bone fractures.
If you don’t eat poultry, Susie said you should provide a source of lean protein with every meal.
Good examples include fish, eggs and dairy products.
You can get all the nutrients from eggs (pictured) elsewhere, except for selenium – which is a powerful antioxidant that plays a key role in cell health
Eggs are extremely popular among dieters – and for good reason.
‘Eggs are an extremely nutritious food containing more than 20 essential vitamins and minerals, including quality protein, good fats and vitamins A and E, making them a good addition to any diet,’ said Susie.
But while they’re all good for our health, Susie said we can get all the nutrients from eggs outside of eggs, except for one: selenium.
‘Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that plays a key role in cell health, and is found in very few foods other than eggs and Brazil nuts,’ she said – with one egg providing a quarter of your daily selenium needs.
‘Eggs are also a good source of vitamin D, which can also often be low in our diets,’ said Susie.
All this means that if you are cutting eggs, you will have to pay close attention to your diet.
Susie is a big fan of the anti-inflammatory diet (pictured), which requires you to load up on fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens
5. Fish and seafood
Finally, if you are someone who has eliminated fish and seafood from your diet, you need to know that you will be missing out on omega 3 fats and zinc.
“Fatty fish is one of the few natural foods that contains omega 3 fatty acids,” said Susie.
‘This means that skipping oily fish altogether will make it almost impossible to get the amount of omega 3 you ideally need without supplementation.’
Finally, skipping fish and shellfish will leave you low in iodine—which is linked to impaired thyroid function in the long term.
All of this means that if you are not eating these two things, you must have a supplement.
To learn more about Susie Burrell, you can visit her Instagram page here.
Foods that aren’t as bad for you as you think
Susie shares foods you think are bad for you, but can actually be healthy.
PASTA: Although pasta is high in carbohydrates, Susie said it’s fine to eat, as long as you opt for portion control. She recommends plain pasta or better yet, one of the new varieties that are high in protein and low in carbohydrates. Pair it with a vegetable-based dip and a sprinkle of cheese for a tasty yet healthy meal.
MEAT: A lot of people who don’t eat much or don’t eat meat at all will extol the virtues of avoiding too much meat, but actually Susie said it’s okay to include it. Ideally, choose lean proteins and enjoy them in ‘controlled portions 3-4 times a week’. What most people do wrong, she said, is eating large portions instead of the 100-150 mg we actually need.
BREAD: Bread is one of the foods that many people will tell you is unhealthy to eat, but again Susie said it comes down to ‘the kind you choose’. Instead of Turkish or white bread, try sourdough or low-carb, high-protein bread if you’re counting calories.
RICE: Rice has a high GI, which means it results in a rapid rise in blood glucose levels if you’re not careful. For this reason, Susie said you should keep your white rice intake to a minimum and choose high-quality brown or black rice instead.
POTATO: Like rice and pasta, many fear the carbohydrates in potatoes. But in fact, Susie said that a whole potato contains only 100 calories, 20g of carbohydrates and ‘lots of fiber and B vitamins’. She recommends eating them jacket or plain, but sees no problem with adding potatoes to your diet every day.
WHOLE MILK: Although whole milk offers a ‘heavy dose of saturated fat’, Susie said it’s perfectly fine, as long as you don’t consume too much coffee with milk and dairy products.
BREAKFAST CEREALS: Finally, breakfast cereals regularly get a bad rap for being sweet and therefore unhealthy, but not all are created equal. If you like cereal in the morning, opt for options that are high in fiber and whole grains and low in added sugar, then top it with Greek yogurt and fruit. A simple muesli is almost always a good option.
Source: Susie Burrell