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Dr. Travis Stork boosts your weight loss with Doctor's Diet: Gluten-free debate

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Can food become your medicine? Yes, says Dr. Travis Stork, co-host of "The Doctors." He explained how he developed a weight loss plan called the "Doctor's Diet" on the Wednesday episode of the show.

"I know that food can save our lives," says Dr. Travis. His three-step plan involves: STAT, RESTORE and MAINTAIN. A big key: Kick your sugar habit.

On average, Americans eat 22 teaspoons of sugar daily. That equals more than three times the maximum recommended. So breaking up your love affair with sugar is critical for weight loss success. But although Dr. Travis doesn't focus on gluten, more dieters are wary of wheat than of sugar.

He's used it to help entire families lose weight (one family shed a total of 300 pounds). The book also includes recipes.

In recent years, more consumers associate a healthy diet with a gluten-free plan. A new study shows that one in four Americans believes a gluten-free diet is good for everyone, reported Forbes on Wednesday.

Clean eating has become the "new normal," and gluten-free living is a key part of that attitude. Whether you're Paleo or vegan, the odds are high that gluten-free foods rank high on your "approved" list.

It's important to recognize the difference between celiac disease, which requires a gluten-free diet for health, and gluten sensitivity. And even beyond those two groups of people who want to bypass wheat and other foods containing gluten, many dieters say that they just feel gluten should be avoided.

The NPD Group estimates that 11 percent of households in the nation are gluten-free, but only one-fourth of them have a family member with celiac. Approximately one-third of adults have set goals of reducing or avoiding gluten.

"There is clearly a segment of the population who avoids gluten for reasons other than gluten sensitivity or disease, providing a greater opportunity for food manufacturers and retailers,” said Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst, following the latest glory-be-it's-gluten-free report. "Food marketers should pay close attention to all of the reasons for a gluten-free diet and connect the reasons with appropriate messages in order to better target your audiences.”

The message for consumers who form that audience? Beware of high-priced gluten-free foods. They often replace gluten with sugar, which can result in more carbohydrates and sugar than the regular variety.

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