Is Gluten Free a Free Pass?

by
Gluten

When it comes to eating healthy and dieting, many people are opting to go the gluten-free route.  There are many claims that gluten makes us fat and that cutting it out of our diets entirely will be the magic piece of the puzzle that finally makes us skinny.  Does it work? Could it be THAT […]

When it comes to eating healthy and dieting, many people are opting to go the gluten-free route.  There are many claims that gluten makes us fat and that cutting it out of our diets entirely will be the magic piece of the puzzle that finally makes us skinny.  Does it work? Could it be THAT easy?  Let’s look at some of the facts about gluten and gluten-free diets, and you can be your own judge of the gluten-free lifestyle.

Facts

  • Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.
  • Foods that contain this protein include breads, pastas, beer and a wide array of items you would never suspect.
  • Reading food labels becomes your best weapon against accidentally ingesting gluten.
  • Anything on the product label that says, “gluten, wheat, barley, rye, food starch modified, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, hydrolyzed wheat protein, malt, maltodextrin, caramel color, natural flavors, spices, soy sauce, spelt, bulgar, durham, farina, graham, semolina and some forms of brewer’s yeast” means the product may contain gluten.
  • Gluten-free DOES NOT equal healthy. Most gluten-free products have added salt, sugar and fat to make up for the lack of gluten.
  • Gluten-free products contain more calories than their gluten-containing equivalents and will NOT help you to lose weight.
  • Celiac Disease is a condition that affects the lining of the intestines, making it difficult to digest and absorb critical nutrients.  People diagnosed with Celiac’s often complain of weight loss prior to their diagnosis.  Once diagnosed, people find they can gain weight because of better nutrient absorption.
  • Only 1% of the U.S. population are true Celiacs, which means they have a disorder in which ingesting gluten can be very detrimental to their health.
  • There is NO health benefit to eliminating gluten from your diet if you are not diagnosed as celiac or gluten sensitive.

Going gluten free by eliminating all processed foods and grains from your diet is a sure-fire way to cut a few pounds, but if you plan on still enjoying gluten-free versions of your favorite carbohydrates such as breads, cakes, cookies and pies, then you will disappointed to know that you may actually put on weight as a result.  Going gluten-free for the purposes of weight loss only makes the dieter crave those forbidden foods even more.  And eating gluten-free versions of your favorite foods will probably not cure those cravings.  Going gluten-free often means sacrificing texture and taste. With no research supporting going gluten free for weight loss, you are better off sticking to the foods you eat now and just cutting back on portion sizes.

References:
ABC News, Gluten-free diets no help with weight loss. June 25, 2013 http://abcnews.go.com/Health/gluten-free-lead-weight-loss/print?id=19476263

Fox News, Health.com. Your 5 worst gluten-free mistakes. May 14, 2013. http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/14/your-5-worst-gluten-free-mistakes/print

HealthCastle.com, Sofia Layarda. Does going gluten-free make you lose weight? Sept 12,2011. http://www.healthcastle.com/print/1028

CNN, Dr. Arthur Agatston, Gluten: 5 things you need to know. April 5, 2013

  • WebMD, Salynn Boyles, Gluten sensitivity: Fact or fad?. Feb. 20, 2012.
Registered Dietitians

Registered Dietitians

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