Many diets come and go and lately there has been a lot of talk of so many celebrities going gluten-free to lose weight. Now, if you need to be gluten-free because of certain health concerns, it doesn’t always seem like fun. So does this diet really work?
Well…if you don’t have any real health concerns, it can shed a few pounds, but that is only if you are eating all natural, healthy whole foods and grains, which happen to be gluten-free. No processed products or heavy carb loaded foods, otherwise you are just paying more for foods that are loaded with calories and you will not see any significant weight loss – you may see weight gain.
Eating processed foods full of calories is just that, gluten-free or not.
What is gluten?
Gluten is essentially a sticky protein found most commonly in wheat, barley, and rye. It can also be found in other grains like spelt, graham, kamut, and semolina. Gluten holds everything together [binder] so it is what makes breads, cakes, cookies, and bagels so “chewy” and keeps them from crumbling. It is found in many cereals and sauces along with other things, and because of its protein properties it is also used in many veggie ‘meat’ substitutes.
Gluten Intolerance and the Gluten-Free diet
On the other hand, getting rid of all gluten containing foods for someone who has had problems can lead to increased clarity, more mobility, and less inflammation of joints, a healthier GI system, clearer skin, less frequent headaches, mood swings etc. Here is a great infographic explaining everything.
If you are gluten sensitive in any way, going gluten free is definitely in your best interest, your system will finally start to work properly. You may see some weight loss initially but if you have been underweight, you may start to see some weight gain. That is because your system is finally starting to absorb the food and nutrients you put into your body and is using them properly.
You may see the effects of the diet change within the first week, but if you are Celiac, it may take months for your GI system to heal completely. Even the smallest bit of gluten (through cross contamination, mislabeling etc.) can cause a relapse and can ultimately lead to more complications. It can be a very restrictive diet if you really need it, any amount of gluten can cause severe symptoms. So for many people who are gluten intolerant, it is not an option and they can’t just stop the diet any time they want. Being on a gluten free diet also means that there are some supplements that have to be taken because you would not be getting certain vitamins and minerals that you would get on a regular diet through traditional grains.
With the increase in interest in the Gluten-Free diet, there are many more options available now (great tasting breads and cookies) for the people that have no choice but to be on the diet, but like any other diet you still need to watch the type of calories you take in. The best diet all around is still one that includes all natural whole foods and grains, gluten-free or not!