Going gluten-free lifestyle is necessary for those with Celiac disease and is often used by individuals with a wheat allergy, or a Non-celiac gluten sensitivity but there are draw backs for the general population who have no medical reason for being gluten free, as you will see below. So why do some people lose weight and feel better when they go gluten-free?
Gluten is a known to be associated with gastrointestinal disorders and people following a gluten free diet often report fewer GI disturbances such a bloating. Gluten-free dining can seriously limit the number of foods you can eat. Any change in your diet where you are eating less will cause you to lose weight. With fewer choices, you’re a lot less likely to overeat and find it easier to maintain or lose weight. When someone goes gluten free, and they perceive they are eating “healthier” they tend to extend this to other parts of their life like exercise, adding more fruits and vegetables and avoiding refined sugars.
The use of a gluten free diet as the basis of some weight loss programs is based on the premise that if we can get individuals to eat gluten free (or even wheat free), they will be wheat free and being wheat free is going to eliminate a lot of weight gain promoting foods like pasts, pizza, beer, desserts, baked goods, sauces and processed foods. Gluten-free food however is not necessarily healthier. Nutrition Action Newsletter posted an article on 10/22/14 titled Eating Gluten Free Isn’t Always Healthy – These gluten-free junk foods are just as bad as their gluten-containing counterparts.
Where in the past gluten free diners (out of necessity, not choice) were hard pressed to find just gluten free bread, today there are literally 10s of thousands of gluten free products on the market shelves. Someone who thinks eating gluten free will lead to weight loss but consumes the yummy, delicious, creamy, chewy, favorable high calorie, high fat high sugar non gluten counterparts of the gluten containing original foods may find themselves gaining weight.
Without the gluten to hold it together, gluten-free foods are often higher in fat and sugar. For example, serving of regular pretzels has about 110 calories and just 1 gram of fat, the gluten-free version you; 140 calories and 6 grams of fat.
Other drawbacks include:
- Whole grains contain fiber, many gluten free diets are also low in fiber.
- Many breads are fortified with nutrients such as iron and B vitamins. These are not routinely added to gluten-free foods.
- It is not easy to maintain a gluten-free diet and it requires very careful planning as gluten is not only in obvious foods like bread and cereal, but also in not so common foods.
- Gluten free living can be expensive without good planning. Careful planning usually leads to healthier eating because the gluten free treats are expensive.
According to www.nutritionaction.com here are some of the reasons why someone on a gluten free diet who has a weight problem and eats junk food and does not change their eating habits will find it difficult to lose weight. Just because a food is gluten free does not mean it is not junk food. Junk gluten free foods are just as weight promoting as their gluten containing counterparts.
Here are some examples given:
- Whole Foods Gluten Free Bakehouse “Almond Scones has enough rice flour, butter, heavy cream, sugar, and other ingredients to supply 390 calories and 12 grams (half a day’s worth) of saturated fat.”
- “Glutino, gluten-free Toaster Pastries (think Pop-Tarts), Chocolate Vanilla Creme Cookies, Baked Potato Crisps, and Pretzels (some coated with sugar and palm kernel oil). Most are basically corn starch, tapioca starch, white rice flour, and potato starch.”
- Udi’s Gluten Free Moist & Tasty Cinnamon Rolls. “They’re basically tapioca starch, brown rice flour, oil, and sugar—about seven teaspoons of sugar in each 300-calorie iced roll.
- Enjoy Life CoCoa Loco – “No nuts, soy, milk, or gluten… because it’s mostly sugar and tapioca syrup.”
- Simple Cheetos Puffs White Cheddar – “No gluten because it’s mostly corn meal and oil.”
There is no such thing as being gluten free part time for someone who needs to be on a gluten free diet for medical reasons.
If you have to go gluten-free, you should consider speaking with a registered dietitian about the making the change. You will probably be surprised by how many healthy foods are naturally gluten-free.
This information is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical/nutritional/fitness advice. Information presented is subject to change as additional discoveries are made or additional research is published. Links to various sites within blogs are provided for your convenience only and we are not responsible or liable for the content, accuracy of information provided or privacy practices of linked sites or for products or services described on these sites.
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