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Gluten Free Diets – Fad or Fact?

Gluten Free Diets – Fad or Fact?

Have you chosen a gluten free diet to lose weight or get healthy because you have heard that wheat or gluten is “bad for you?”  I am about to tell you how true these health claims really are.

Gluten free diets can be effective for weight loss and health, depending on three factors:

1. Whether or not you have a gluten intolerance, celiac’s disease, or a wheat allergy

Are you gluten intolerant, have an allergy, or suffer from a lifelong auto-immune condition known as Celiac’s Disease?  If so, you should absolutely follow a strictly gluten free diet upon diagnosis.  If you have not been tested and have suspicions of having a gluten problem, I encourage you to see a ND or MD to run blood tests. Food intolerances, allergies and celiac’s disease are NOT something to mess with, as gluten problems can lead to immunodeficiency, leaky gut, and even more auto-immune conditions over time.  You may want to know exactly what foods are safe to eat and stick to it 100% if you have these gluten problems.  For these conditions, it requires a lifestyle change moreso than a short-term “diet”.   Eating foods that your body can’t handle will lead to unwanted weight gain. For those who do not have a true gluten problem, you might be trying a gluten free diet for the wrong reasons and may put yourself through more trouble than its worth to restrict the popular gluten ingredients in the supermarket. Glutenous foods include wheat, barley, rye, and vital wheat gluten.

2.  What you are eating to replace gluten in your diet 

If you are replacing glutenous grains with processed grains instead of healthy whole grains, you are most likely on a fad diet and not making healthy choices for weight loss.  100% whole wheat has moderate protein from gluten and also is a high fiber food; processed grains are typically low protein and low fiber. Regardless of your reason for going gluten-free, you should try to eat healthy to get results. Take the time to study the ingredients that you find on the labels of foods or be careful what you put in your homemade meals to replace the gluten proteins in wheat, rye, or barley.  Many gluten free foods are also high in oils which are 100% calories from fat, and there are 9 calories per gram of fat. Other gluten-free products contain eggs, which are both very high in saturated fat and cholesterol, yet contains no fiber.  To be safe, I would avoid eggs on a gluten-free diet (another common allergen) and then check to see if there are less than 20% of calories from fat on the nutrition label.  Remember to question if a product is fad or fat? If you can follow these few tips, and eat more home cooked meals, you are likely going to see some weight loss results.

3.  The amount of sugar you are eating on gluten free diets

If you are overeating sugar, you are going to have trouble losing weight and might even gain weight on a gluten-free diet.  If you have gluten intolerance and also want to lose weight, then contact me for help because a lot of gluten free foods are jam-packed with added sugars and processed chemicals to make up for the lack of gluten.  This could bump up the amount of calories per gram of food, and you can easily overeat if your new diet is highly processed.  If going gluten free results in you making more homemade meals, you might experience the contrary and start to lose weight.

Need help learning about gluten-free diets or getting a written nutrition plan that’s right for you?  I write plans with both 100% whole wheat and gluten free options! Choose the foods that are right for you!

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Kelly Gibson, Vegan Gluten Free Nutrition Coach

My name is Kelly and I am intolerant to wheat and gluten.   I was sticking to gluten free diets mostly for 3 years, but cheating once in a while with a food that contained wheat or gluten really affected my weight goals.  Having a snack once a week containing gluten created auto-immunity inside of my body and prevented me from losing the weight that I worked so hard for the other 95% of the time.  After going fully gluten free, I have never felt better and even lost my last 7 pounds. I plan to be on a gluten free diet for the rest of my life and I do it for my health! If I didn’t have intolerance I would have no problem eating it, and I have no problem encouraging others to do the same. It is estimated that roughly 30% of people have a gluten problem; as for the other 70% they shouldn’t have to worry about cutting the gluten.

Written by Kelly Gibson on Jan 12, 2015. Edited Aug 5th 2016.

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