Does Going on a Gluten Free Diet Help with Weight Loss?
If you have recently walked into a grocery store lately or have stayed on top of the newest diet trends your likely to come across Gluten free products that are promoting a Gluten free diet for weight loss. Many people that decide to go on a Gluten free diet do not do it by choice, but they have Gluten Intolerance or an Auto-immune disease such as Celiac to the Gluten protein causing them to eliminate Gluten completely from their diet.
Is a Gluten Free Diet Healthy?
By eliminating Gluten from your diet you may see results such as weight loss due to the fact that many high carb foods such as pasta and breads have to be avoided. Although you may see some weight loss results from switching to a Gluten free diet it is important to understand that going Gluten Free will not cause significant weight loss. Also it is important to understand that avoiding gluten is unnecessary for almost 99% of us because only 1% of people are affected by diseases or sensitivities that cause them to not be able to digest Gluten such as Celiac disease.
Before deciding to go on a diet make sure your consult your doctor to see if you really need to, or if you are feeling that maybe you have Gluten sensitivity after eating foods that contain Gluten get tested and you can try to slowly eliminate Gluten and see if that helps you feel better.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a mixture of proteins found in wheat, barley, rye and all their species and hybrids (such as triticale). When mixed with water, gluten creates a sticky, glue-like network that makes dough elastic, helps bread rise and creates that satisfyingly squishy, chewy texture found in baked goods.
Foods such as: Pastas, noodles, breads, pastries, crackers, baked goods, cereal, granola, pancakes, waffles, french toast, crepes, and biscuits, breading, coating mixes, croutons, sauces, gravies (many use wheat flour as a thickener), flour tortillas, beer, yeast, and anything else that uses “wheat flour” as an ingredient.
Luckily for people who have sensitivity to Gluten there are a lot of products now available that they can eat that otherwise they couldn’t have before because it contained Gluten.
Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance
Most people who choose to avoid Gluten do it because they have Celiac disease. Celiac disease is an auto-immune disorder. The body’s immune response to gluten damages the small intestine lining. This results in abdominal pain, bloating, nausea and diarrhea. Celiac disease prevents absorption of vitamins and minerals and promotes weight loss. Having this disease makes it very hard for the body to properly digest Gluten, so by eliminating it from their diets it helps sub side the awful effect of the disease.
Other people choose to avoid gluten because of Gluten Intolerance. Gluten Intolerance is a lot like Celiac and mimics symptoms of Celiac disease but without the immune response. If you are feeling any of these symptoms such as bloating, nausea, diarrhea, or abdominal pain it may be due to sensitivity to Gluten. You can go to your doctor and be tested for a sensitivity or Celiac Disease.
Gluten Free Products don’t Always Mean its Healthier
Although the hype is there and everywhere you go there is a Gluten free product to replace what you would usually eat don’t be fooled by the marketing and fall into the trap thinking that because it is the healthier option. Unless you have been diagnosed with Celiac or some other Auto Immune disease that makes it hard for your body to break down, eliminating Gluten from your diet is not essential to lose weight.
Eating Gluten Free products doesn’t mean that they are any more low calorie or healthier than what you would usually eat. Not only are the Gluten free products more expensive but they also contains way more calories and are loaded with extra sugars to add more taste and texture for replacing the Gluten. Gluten free products also contain far less fiber which is an essential part of a healthy life style.
When deciding to go Gluten free you must be very careful because a Gluten-free diet can lack essential nutrients. Many of the Gluten-free products tend to be low in B vitamins, calcium, iron, zinc, and magnesium. Also another thing to be aware of, don’t confuse “gluten free” with “low carbohydrate,” some gluten-free pastas are actually higher in carbohydrates than regular pasta. When choosing what to eat on a Gluten Free diet always be sure to look at the nutritional information to ensure that what your eating is actually the healthier option because in a lot of Gluten Free products there Is a lot of hidden ingredients to help with the taste and texture and some of those ingredients make it not so healthy.
Why Avoiding Gluten may Cause Weight loss?
There is no real scientific research stating that by avoiding Gluten you can lose weight but, people who do avoid gluten have to make sure they are reading food labels to be aware of what they are eating and in the long run it helps you make healthier decisions on what you may eat. There is also a lot of restriction on the foods that you can and cannot eat making your choices of food fewer.
Also by eating gluten-free often it may cause you to eat more whole, unprocessed foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and lean meats. It also restricts certain junk foods; these diet changes are often healthier and lower in calories.
What if You’re Not Celiac and Want to Try a Gluten Free Diet?
Many people that do not have Celiac disease or Gluten sensitivity follow a Gluten free diet and it is completely safe!
Just be sure to make sure you are including essential nutrients in your diet that you may lack due to the restrictions from not being able to have Gluten in your diet. Be sure to add in fruit and vegetables as well as legumes to help you avoid mineral and nutrient deficiencies and over all help your live a well balance healthy life style!
The most important thing to remember when deciding to go gluten free is to make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons and it’s the best healthier choice for you. By eliminating an essential protein it is not guaranteed to help you lose weight. By changing your diet and making it Gluten Free it may help you be more aware of what you’re eating but just because its Gluten Free doesn’t always mean it’s the healthiest choice. Living a healthy life style is about balance and getting exercise and providing your body with the proper proteins and nutrients so your body is healthy and strong. With any diet always make sure it’s the best choice for you and look at all your options before deciding on one. Another important tip to remember a diet shouldn’t be a temporary change because if it is then you’re only going to see temporary results.
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