Gluten Free: Is It a Diet?

Are You Going Against the Grain?

Gluten-free diets are the current rage.  Will this plan give you more energy and help you lose weight?  First, there is more to gluten than meets the eye.  According to a recent article* there is no scientific evidence indicating that gluten itself impacts weight in people who do not have Celiac disease.  While the rage – here is a quick overview.

Gluten 101

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley.  Therefore, it is found in a number of foods as well as medicines, dietary supplements and lip balms.  There is now a demand for gluten-free food due to the increased awareness of the consumer of Celiac disease which causes damage to the lining of the small intestine and prevents it from absorbing parts of food that are important for staying healthy.  The question is, “Should we all try and avoid gluten and join the bandwagon?”

The New Bad Kid on the Block

As a society, we love to place the blame on specific food ingredients.  And now, gluten has become this kid.  But what is so bad about this protein?  If you have Celiac disease, then gluten causes an immune reaction that can damage or destroy the villi (microscopic finger-like projections that line the inner wall of the small intestine).  After food passes from the stomach into the small intestine, nutrients in the food are absorbed into the body through the villi.  People with untreated Celiac disease will have inflammation in the small intestine which makes the villi shrink and flatten.

Gluten-Free Weight Loss

Again, there is no scientific evidence indicating that gluten itself impacts weight in people who do not have Celiac disease.  Actually weight loss is a symptom of Celiac disease.  So why do so many claim that a gluten-free diet has helped them to lose weight?  Wheat accounts for a large portion of the gluten consumed in most diets and cakes, cookies, crackers, breads, dressings and sauces make up for the large portion of wheat in American food.  Therefore, “going” gluten-free helps in cutting out a great deal of the high calorie foods.  It is often easier for the consumer to cut out certain foods, than to limit the portions. 

Manageable and Workable Weight Loss Tips

The following proven strategies will help with your plan:

  • Drink Up – have at least one 8 oz glass of water before each meal to improve meal plan compliance.
  • Add Protein to Your Diet – digesting protein uses more calories and will help ward off hunger pangs.
  • Make Healthy Food Visible – keep cookies behind cabinet doors and fruits and veggies readily available.
  • Use Smaller Bags– if quantity is a problem.
  • Bite It, Write It– don’t wait until later to write down your food consumsumption.

Positive Results

No matter what plan you begin or what foods you cut out, think positive about your results.  If you believe you can do something, you will be more successful according to research.  Also, if you surround yourself with positive people, you will be more apt to achieve your goals.  So begin today!

*The Wellness Advisor

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