Popular diets on test

The team at BBC Good Food put a variety of popular dietary choices to the test. Did going gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free or vegan make a difference to how they felt? Find out more, plus read our expert tips if you're considering trying a new diet...

Popular diets on test

'I gave up dairy' -  Cassie Best, Food editorCassie Best

After years of suffering from skin problems – and trying countless lotions, potions and even medication, I read that dairy can inflame acne, so I decided to cut down. My biggest hurdles were milk and yogurt because I eat porridge or muesli every morning, but now I simply use unsweetened almond milk. I swapped regular tea for herbal tea and I make creamy desserts using coconut milk. I’ve seen a huge improvement in my skin, and I’m sure it’s as a result of cutting out dairy.

Thinking about cutting down on dairy? Take a look at our nutritionist Kerry Torrens' guide to which milk is right for you and our spotlight on dairy-free, then try these dairy-free recipes.

'I’ve cut out sugar'  - Rachel Bayly, Art editor

Rachel Bayly

I gave up sugar for Lent after realising that I was eating up to 40 teaspoons a day. I started gently – eliminating the obvious things like biscuits. Very soon I was feeling healthier and more energised than I’ve done in years.
I don’t eat dried fruit and have also cut out things with hidden sugar, like mayonnaise. My moods are more balanced now and I feel less stressed. I occasionally have a mouthful of cake to test myself and I can happily say that I’ve lost my sweet tooth!

Confused about sugar's bad reputation? Read the truth about sugar, then start reducing your sugar intake with Davina Mccall's tips for going sugar-free.

'I went gluten-free' - Mariana Bettio, Digital content producerMariana Bettio

My osteopath recommended an anti-inflammatory diet that cuts out gluten to help with back pain. To start with, exploring new recipes was a fun challenge. I ate lots of fish and meat, and discovered how versatile sweet potatoes are. I was really strict for two months, but then started to realise that the lack of carbs was having a negative effect on my mood and general well-being. My back pain did reduce, so as soon as I felt better, I gradually reintroduced the carbs and gluten, with no ill effect.

Should we be avoiding gluten? Discover more in our spotlight on gluten-free diets. For those, who are considering this diet, try our top 10 tips for a gluten-free diet and be tempted by our gluten-free recipes.

'I tried going vegan' -  Roxanne Fisher, health editor

Roxanne Fisher

After reading some inspiring vegan blogs, I decided to give vegan living a try. However, I found the first week really hard because I was woefully unprepared. So I spent the weekend restocking my cupboards with grains, pulses, nuts and lots of vegetables, and the next few weeks were great. I made masses of vegetable stews, egg-less cakes, coconut bars and vegan pancakes. Although I felt the benefit of all the extra veg, and proved I’m not dairy-dependent, I knew I couldn’t be vegan forever as I just didn’t want to give up fish, eggs and lean meat for good. Now I eat vegan a couple of times a week these days and feel a whole lot better for it.

Want to go vegan? Our spotlight on vegan diets will give you the information you need, plus find out how to maintain a balanced vegan diet and tuck into these tempting vegan recipes.

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