Sunday, February 23, 2014

Can You Lose Weight By Going Gluten-Free?

In case you've not heard about gluten-fee eating, gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, and many food additives. Celiac disease is caused by the body's intolerance to gluten. It causes inflammation and comes with nasty digestive symptoms. Also, many people are sensitive to gluten and suffer milder digestive ailments when they ingest it.

A friend of mine has celiac disease. After about a year on a gluten-free diet, she has finally got her symptoms under control. Unfortunately, she still eats cookies, cupcakes, breads, and macaroni, all gluten-free but full of sugar (and outrageously expensive). She has not lost any weight eating gluten-free.

The question is . . . 

Can you lose weight by eliminating gluten from your diet?

The answer is "it all depends."

Here's what Dr. Mercola at says about gluten-free eating and losing weight:
Gluten often hides in processed foods like ready-made soups, soy sauce, candies, cold cuts, and various low- and no-fat products, as well as refined grain products like bread, pizza crust, pasta, cookies and pastries. 
When you cut all of these foods from your diet, you end up cutting out primarily refined carbohydrates, which are linked to weight gain and obesity. 
So it's very possible that switching to a gluten-free diet could help you lose weight, particularly if you've been eating a lot of refined gluten-containing foods. When eating gluten-free, however, you need to be careful that you're replacing the gluten-containing foods with healthy choices, like vegetables and other whole foods. 
If you instead opt for gluten-free processed foods, like the wide assortment of gluten-free cookies, pasta and breads that are now commercially available, there's a good chance that you will not lose weight, and may actually gain instead. 
In fact, one study of people with celiac disease who followed a gluten-free diet found that 81 percent gained weight after two years. So keep in mind that just because a food is gluten-free it does not necessarily make it healthy or automatically good for weight loss.
If you've been tested for gluten intolerance and want to lose weight, stay away from gluten-free processed foods. They'll put on weight and your wallet will be a lot lighter for the privilege of gaining weight.

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