Gluten Free Does Not Equal Weight Loss

One of the fastest growing segments of the nutrition
industry is the Gluten-Free segment, with new products hitting the shelves
every day. The gluten-free phenomenon is a huge advancement for the millions of
Americans that suffer from Celiac disease. Recently, however it seems as though
more than those who suffer from Celiac disease are jumping on the Gluten-Free
bandwagon in hopes of losing weight.



The fact is, gluten-free is not a diet plan for losing
weight. In fact, most sufferers of Celiac disease often gain weight after
cutting gluten out of their diet because their bodies heal and are able to
absorb more nutrients from the foods they are eating through their small


If you do not have Celiac disease it's definitely possible
that if you've recently gone gluten-free to have lost weight but this is most
likely because you're cutting out refined flour products and initially decreasing
your total caloric intake, thereby creating a caloric deficit. The problem is,
that if we do not suffer from Celiac disease, then we need those whole grains
to get the vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and fiber that we need to regulate
our blood sugar and hormone levels.


Some of these gluten-free products do not offer these
nutrients in their food and


aren't really providing anything more than a
gluten-free alternative to an inferior product to begin with.  Take for instance all the chips on the
shelves these days, they all contain the label..."Gluten Free"...the last time I checked,
potatoes have never contained gluten, so they've always been gluten free. It's
the food industries way of taking advantage of trends and unsuspecting
consumers. There are also a lot of gluten-free products out there that actually
contain more fat, sodium and sugar than their gluten-full counterpart. In order
to increase the flavors of some products like rice crackers, the manufacturer
has to add something to the product and it typically ends up being sugar, salt
or fat. So make sure you're still checking the labels on all of your gluten-free products before making them apart of your everyday nutrition program.


If you do not suffer from Celiac disease and are looking to
lose weight, don't go gluten free because you think it's the next miracle diet.
Try eating a balanced diet and following a few simple rules that I've talked
about before in a blog where I reviewed Robert Ferguson's book "Diet Free For
  Robert has a proven
strategy for losing fat by making simple adjustments to your current nutrition
program. Check out a full review of his book at the link above.

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  • Last November, I received confirmation that I have Celiac Disease. Since then I have maintained a strict gluten-free diet and without doing anything else I have lost 15 lbs. It is a healthy lean diet. One of the main reasons that I am losing weight is because I don't eat gluten-free replacements for bread, cakes, donuts, etc. I eat fruit, vegetables, eggs, pure meats, fish, rice and the that's about it. I have never felt better or looked better in my life. Celiac Disease is a blessing in disguise. When I eliminated gluten from my diet, I eliminated all of the garbage food that I was eating.

  • In reply to Stealth:

    Thanks for the comment and congrats on the weight loss and feeling better. That's probably such a relief to finally figure out why you felt like crap for so long. A family member of mine has the disease and since she's been diagnosed can't believe the difference she feels everyday from maintaining a gluten-free lifestyle. I think you hit the nail on the head and emphasized my point, people who do not have celiac disease should not look to the gluten-free products as a way to lose weight and those that do have celiac disease should not find the gluten-free counterpart to already nutritionally suspect foods.
    By the sounds of your revamped diet, you've given yourself the best chance to live a healthy life. And as crazy as it sounds, I think you're right, it was a blessing in disguise.
    Thanks for reading, I appreciate the feedback.
    In good health,

  • fb_avatar

    You make excellent points...since going gluten-free, I have found it, if anything, more difficult to lose weight; certainly, it hasn't been easier. I think those who look to a GF diet for weight loss are sadly misguided and likely destined for disappointment, unless they're of that specific segment of the population who experiences weight gain as a symptom of celiac or gluten sensitivity. Your points about the nutritional deficiencies in many gluten-free products are right on the money. GF products - baked-goods in particular - rely very heavily on starchy refined flours and sugars, which are supremely unhealthy. It's totally possible, however, to eat gluten-free without consuming these things. A healthy diet, with or without gluten, shouldn't consist of many processed foods anyway. Fruits and vegetables, lean meats and low-fat dairy - those are all naturally gluten-free. The whole grains are a problem; whole-wheat products were a major staple of my healthy diet before I learned that I was gluten-intolerant. It's harder to build nutritionally dense whole grains into a GF diet. It's not impossible, but it's harder.

    The one thing I would like to see mentioned, though, is that there is a rising percentage of the population who are not celiac, but are gluten-intolerant or gluten-sensitive. It is possible to be unable to tolerate gluten, without having the particular genetic marker for celiac disease. If someone is having symptoms and feels better on a GF diet, then I'd encourage them to stick with it, with or without an official diagnosis.

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