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...
'I gave up dairy' - Cassie Best, Food editor
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.
'I’ve cut out sugar' - Rachel Bayly, Art editor
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!
'I went gluten-free' - Mariana Bettio, Digital content producer
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
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.