Meg Farris / Eyewitness News
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NEW ORLEANS -- After king cakes and parade-style food and drink, some of you say Lent is a good time to renew your new year's diet resolution.

Science suggests there's a fast way to make taking off a lot of weight much easier.

WWL's Facebook tells your story. For Lent, you want health through diet changes. And board-certified nutrition and fitness expert Dr. JJ Virgin said food sensitivity could be making you feel bad and weigh more.

'Ninety percent of the people that I put on this program feel different, whether it's weight loss or joint pain or energy,' said Dr. Virgin, an adjunct professor at Bauman College of Nutrition and faculty member of the Smart Women's Institute.

She said food intolerance to gluten, a protein in wheat and other grains, or soy, dairy, eggs, corn, peanuts, sugar and artificial sweeteners, could be from your genetics, immune system or hormones.

'If you're intolerant to foods, you become inflamed and actually can create hormonal issues that make you hold on to or store more weight. You also start to crave the very foods that are hurting you, which can cause you to overeat,' said Dr. Virgin.

She said gas, bloating, joint pain, headaches, skin problems, and cravings are not normal to have.

'In food intolerance, moderation's a myth. A little bit is creating those food reactions, that I talked about, and really holding your health hostage.' she said.

Cornerstones of the Virgin Diet are omega-3 fatty acids in wild salmon and grass-fed beef, because they lower inflammation. Also, colorful vegetables are needed for the array of antioxidants that come from all the different colors.

Dr. Virgin also said we should cut out certain artificial sweeteners.

'When you drink diet sodas, they make you crave more sweet. They can make you release insulin. That helps your body store more fat and they can excite your brain,' she explained, adding that artificial sweeteners were an experiment that didn't work.

Regular soft drinks and more natural sugar in your diet means more diabetes and weight gain.

'Fructose beelines straight to the liver, tells your body to make more fat and it bypasses any of the satiety signal. So, you're hungrier and making more fat,' said Dr. Virgin.

She said more than a million people have had rapid weight loss success and feel good, not deprived, doing it.

Dr. Virgin natural alternatives to artificial sweeteners without the negative side effects are stevia, monk fruit, erythritol and xylitol.

Her latest book is 'The Virgin Diet Cookbook.'

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