Gluten Free for Weight Loss?
Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, rye and barley. It is found in many foods from breads, beer and pastas to cookies and even sausage. When trying to avoid eating gluten one needs to be cautious to avoid not only those foods that are easily recognized as having gluten, but those foods that have it hidden, such as sausage, foods with malt flavoring (made from barley) and even some medications and vitamins. It is often used in meats as filler, flavoring, and binding agent. One also would need to be careful of products with cross-contamination issues such as oatmeal. Although oatmeal in general doesn’t contain gluten, it is often processed in places that process other grains that do contain gluten. These products can cause reactions for those with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. Those with celiac disease have a reaction in their intestines when they eat gluten which makes it so the body doesn’t process nutrients properly. Those with gluten sensitivity have an allergic reaction when they eat gluten. In both situations a gluten free diet is recommended.
Gluten free foods are those where the gluten has been taken out from the grain or the product doesn’t use any grains at all. Many people are currently caught up in the gluten free craze that is sweeping the nation. This is a good thing for the 1 in 133 Americans with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. With all of the new gluten free products on the shelves today, there are more options for those with the disease that have to follow a strict gluten free diet. However, for those without the disease or gluten sensitivity, we wouldn’t recommend following that type of diet plan, especially for weight loss purposes.
Before starting a gluten free diet, it is recommended that one be tested for celiac disease because if one starts the diet before testing it can make it difficult to get an accurate diagnosis. It can also mask symptoms of other diseases which may be causing you discomfort. Diagnosis has two parts. The first is a blood test which checks for gluten antibodies which is then followed by an upper endoscopy with an intestinal tissue biopsy.
Gluten free doesn’t mean healthy or fat free. In fact, many people with celiac disease find that because the body is finally processing foods properly given the lack of gluten in their diet, they will actually gain weight. Some may lose in the beginning because of the added fruits, vegetables, and lean meats, but the body will quickly make the necessary adjustments. It was never intended as a weight loss tool. Many of the gluten free foods can also be expensive and fattening. When processing gluten free foods they have to replace the gluten with something and that tends to be oil butter and eggs. They can also be high in sugar, salt and fats. Following a gluten free diet without needing too can also cause headaches and fatigue.
When one is following a gluten free diet, one should also remember to supplement for the lack of nutrients found in grains, many of which are fortified. It is very important to follow this type of diet with a doctor’s supervision. We do not recommend this type of diet for anyone with a proper diagnosis. Remember we want everyone to live a healthy lifestyle.
Please call the Health Coaches if you have any questions, 1-800-980-7208.