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Debra Messing talks 20-lb weight loss on gluten-free diet: I have lots of energy

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Debra Messing looks and feels great after her recent 20-pound weight loss on a low-carb, no-sugar, gluten-free diet, but admits she still craves many of her old favorite foods.

"I miss everything," she told People. "I loved burgers and fries and pizzas – the greasiest food. If I could, I would subsist on all of that."

Still, Debra won't give up her healthy diet because it gives her lots of energy. "Unfortunately, working 17 hours a day, you can't subsist on junk and be a good employee," said the 45-year-old mom of one.

Messing said weight loss wasn't her goal when she overhauled her diet in 2012, but taking charge of her health was. "I made the change because I was just tired all the time," she said. "It made a big difference in how I look. I lost 20 pounds."

Sugar-Free Diet Is Anti-Aging and Boosts Energy

These days, Debra starts off her mornings with a green juice that includes kale, spinach, ginger, lemon and cucumber. She limits or avoids caffeine, alcohol, gluten and sugar. Her diet typically features plenty of organic vegetables and low-sugar fruits. "[Juicing] really gave me more energy," she said. "That made an obvious difference for me, in me feeling strong."

The weight-loss and other health benefits of a low-carb, sugar-free diet aren't surprising to obesity expert Dr. Mark Hyman, author of the 10-Day Detox Diet.

"Sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine,” wrote Dr. Hyman, who said sugar wreaks havoc on your metabolism, hormones, skin and organs.

"Despite 40 years of Americans being brainwashed into thinking that fat is bad, it turns out it's sugar — not fat — that makes you sick and overweight," said Hyman, who pointed out that sugar speeds up the aging process and literally makes you ugly and old.

Gained 60 Pounds While Pregnant

Debra used to eat candy and fast food all the time, but the poor diet caused weight gain, acne and dry hair, so she transformed her diet, and has never felt better. Messing said she now has the energy to keep up with her active 10-year-old son, Roman.

While Messing is lean now, she gained 60 pounds during her 2004 pregnancy, and had a hard time losing the weight. She said reading stories about other celebrity moms who lost their baby weight in record time threw her into a deep depression.

Messing eventually shed the baby weight through rigorous workouts with celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson, creator of Core Secrets: 25 Minute Full Body Workout. Gunnar recently helped Kim Kardashian lose 56 pounds after she gave birth to daughter North, and also helped Khloe Kardashian lose 30 pounds.

These days, Debra doesn't do a lot of structured workouts, but prefers to stay fit by walking and leading an active lifestyle. While most actresses dread aging, Debra embraces getting older, saying it has given her more confidence and self-acceptance.

"I know myself better than I ever have before," said Messing, who divorced actor-screenwriter Daniel Zelman in 2012."I feel more attractive now than I have in a long time. I feel healthier and stronger."

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