Not too long ago David Perlmutter, MD, professed gluten to be this generations tobacco, and that seems to mirror the attitude of most people in the fitness community today towards gluten. Grocery stores are inundated with gluten free versions of everything, and so are peoples shopping carts. In fact, People are starting to go the gluten free route to lose weight. But how credible is this claim that going gluten free can melt fat? Is it really worth shelling out extra dollars to buy the gluten free version of pasta, muffin and ice cream? Let’s explore this question below.
But first let’s look at….
What is Gluten?
Gluten refers to the proteins present in wheat, barley, triticale and rye. It acts as a glue and helps food hold their shape. It helps the dough rise and gives it that chewy structure we all have come to love. Gluten comprises of two kinds of proteins: Gliadin and Glutenin. It is present in foods like imitation meats, soy sauce, ice cream, ketchup, baked goods and pastry products.
Gluten Free Diet: The Reality
Many people who start this diet with the hopes of losing weight, might actually experience weight loss. But the reason might not actually be gluten. You see, most people who go on a gluten free diet limit their daily caloric intake, especially by removing processed food from their diets and adding fresh fruits and vegetable.
Going gluten free limits our food choices, which prevents us from overeating or indulging in high fat foods, which off course makes us lose weight
Not just that, but going on a gluten free diet, forces the person to read the ingredients chart for each product. People become more mindful shoppers and start to make healthier choices when it comes to what goes into that shopping cart.
Dangers of Going Gluten Free
By avoiding gluten, you are eliminating a whole branch of nutrition rich grains. This can actually cause deficiencies in fiber, folate, niacin, thiamine, iron, calcium, zinc, phosphorous and Vitamin B12.
Also, it is important to remember that without gluten to hold food together, food manufacturers rely on adding more fat and sugar to make the product more appetizing and flexible. This can actually make you gain weight.
Some gluten free breads are held together with highly processed food binders such as Xanthan gum which can cause digestive distress, migraines and more. Also instead of wheat starch, food manufacturers replace gluten free products with starches that have a high glycemic index such as rice starch, potato starch and corn starch. This can elevate your blood sugar levels, not only making you hungry faster, but also making you a candidate for diabetes and other heart disease.
Who Should Really Be Going Gluten Free
There are really only two groups of people who should be avoiding gluten completely.
The first group are the Celiac disease sufferers, in whom gluten triggers an autoimmune reaction which causes their body to attack their own intestines. This can cause bloating, diarrhea, malabsorption and stomach pains. It can even affect their nervous system, liver, bones and other vital organs.
The second group consists of those who suffer from non-celiac gluten sensitivity, who like the first group cannot tolerate gluten and experience symptoms that are similar to Celiac sufferers, but the damage is not as adverse at the same time. Rather than a full blown intestinal damage, those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity experience headaches, joint pain and numbness in the limbs. The symptoms are less severe than Celiac disease.
Unless you fall into either of the two groups mentioned above, you should not eliminate gluten from your diet. Rather focus on eliminating processed foods, canned products and junk food from your diet. Eliminate white flour and add sprouted grain bread, like Ezekiel bread. Increase the intake of fresh fruits and vegetable, and hydrate your body with water. You will automatically find your weight melt away. This way, you will be avoiding gluten induced products without paying anything extra.
In the comments below, please let us know if you have ever tried going gluten free. If you did lose weight on the diet, what do you think was the true reason behind it? Was it the gluten free products or better food choices?