A number of people erroneously believe that adopting a gluten-free can help them shed a number of unwanted pounds. In reality, consuming gluten does not make you gain weight. Similarly, gluten ingestion doesn’t necessarily make you gain weight. People who gain weight are on the wrong side of the energy in/energy out equation. Simply put, they consume more calories than they expend.
Unfortunately, many health and fitness professionals are endorsing this popular “gluten-free’ food craze as means to effective weight loss.
It has been confirmed that only 1% of the US population is truly gluten intolerant (celiac disease) and only 6% may be gluten sensitive (GS). GS has become the common diagnosis by physicians for the general stomach upset or frequent intestinal cramping- like the fibromyalgia phenomenon which is sometimes mistaken for chronic muscle soreness. However, such autoimmune diseases do exist but only in a small percentage of the population. When you completely eliminate foods containing gluten from the diet, you’re removing foods such as pasta, breads, sweets etc. at the same time, all which are rich in refined sugars, bleach, starch and many other unhealthy processed ingredients. It just may be the removal of the latter that cause less discomfort in the digestive tract. Also, removing such nutrients from your diet is nothing more than a default method of daily calorie reduction. This seems to be the more logical reason for weight loss rather than the subtraction of gluten per se.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat that can cause mild to severe stomach distress and autoimmune disorders in folks who can’t thoroughly process it (i.e. celiac disease).
GS only affects 6% of the population and they have been accurately diagnosed by a qualified physician. The numbers don’t lie.
Gluten is found in many health foods like whole grains including wheat. These whole grain foods are responsible for fighting chronic disease and improving the feeling of satiety.
Gluten-free diets can cause undernourishment and are often lacking certain vitamins and minerals including fiber. Furthermore, gluten-free foods are often higher in calories, given the fact that they may include added sugar to compensate for an otherwise problematic issue with taste and texture, which can lead to increase in fat mass.
In summary, do some research and get educated before you dive in. If you feel you may be part of the 6%, make an appointment with a qualified physician to confirm an accurate diagnosis. That said, if you are not gluten-sensitive, have celiac disease or experience frequent abdominal/intestinal irritability there is no need to avoid foods that contain gluten.