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Debra Messing's 20-pound weight loss was due to low-carb gluten-free diet

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Debra Messing credits a low-carb, gluten-free diet and an active lifestyle for her recent 20-pound weight loss. Messing said she lost weight after cutting sugar, gluten and junk food out of her diet in a bid to get healthier.

"Two to three years ago, I made a very big change in the way I approach nutrition," Debra, 45, told ABC News. "It made a big difference in how I look. I lost 20 pounds."

Messing said weight loss wasn't her goal when she cleaned up her diet, but having more energy and improving her health was. "I made the change because I was just tired all the time," she said.

Debra used to eat candy and fast food like pizza, french fries and hamburgers all the time, but the poor diet caused weight gain, acne and dry hair, so she completely transformed her diet, and has never felt better.

These days, Messing starts her days off with a green juice that includes kale, spinach, ginger, lemon and cucumber, and limits or avoids caffeine, alcohol, gluten and sugar. Her diet typically features plenty of organic vegetables and other whole foods.

"[Juicing] really gave me more energy," she said. "That made an obvious difference for me, in me feeling strong."

Sugar-Free Diet Boosts Energy and Is Anti-Aging

The weight-loss and other health benefits of a sugar-free diet aren't surprising to dietitian Brooke Alpert, author of The Sugar Detox: Lose Weight, Feel Great.

“Sugar is compromising our health, making us fat, lazy, and ugly," said Alpert, who said eliminating sugar promotes natural weight loss, sustained energy, and glowing skin.

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

"The tabloids showed all the actresses who got skinny in six weeks or less, and on the other page was me!" she recalled. "I was so depressed and frustrated."

Messing eventually lost the baby weight with a strict diet and rigorous workouts with celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson, creator of Core Secrets: 25 Minute Full Body Workout.

These days, Debra doesn't like structured workouts, but prefers to stay fit by walking and leading an active lifestyle. "I don't exercise," she said. "That's something I struggle with. I'm constantly walking. I'll exercise in spurts, usually inspired by a dress I have to fit into."

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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