How Gluten Contributes to Weight Loss
Doctors first recommended gluten free diets to patients who suffered from Celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that is based on a gluten intolerance. This intolerance or insensitivity typically causes inflammation in the small intestines.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein that is naturally found in barley, oats, wheat and grains. For individuals with Celiac disease, even small trace amounts of gluten can cause harm. There is no known cause or cure for Celiac disease, but research shows a gluten-free disease mitigates the symptoms.
Gluten and Evolution
The human diet has changed significantly over the past few hundreds of years. The human body originally survived off of plants, berries and meats. It was not until modern times that a steady flow of wheat products entered human diets. Some people claim that the human body has not had enough time to evolve to accommodate the influx of gluten into their diets. Due to this, the body does not always know how to properly digest gluten products. It is believed that this may cause unnecessary weight gain for some people.
While Celiac disease or true gluten intolerance is rare, affecting roughly 1 percent of the American population, researchers at the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research in Baltimore believe that many more individuals may have a gluten sensitivity. This sensitivity can cause problems ranging from rashes to bloating. By following a gluten-free diet, it is believed that individuals who suffer from some form of gluten sensitivity could alleviate their symptoms by giving their small intestines a chance to rest.
Weight Loss and Gluten-Free Diet
While research does not show that eliminating gluten from your diet directly leads to weight loss, several studies show that making healthy changes to your diet can promote weight loss. The reason why numerous individuals lose weight on the gluten-free diet is that they are consuming fewer processed and fast food items. By replacing processed foods and empty carbohydrates with fresh fruits and vegetables, dieters can expect to see a lower number on the scale.
When following a gluten-free diet, you can eat fresh, dried or frozen fruits and vegetables as long as they do not have any additives or thickening ingredients with gluten, dairy products, eggs, unprocessed meat products, cereals, crackers and breads made from corn, rice bran, lentil flour or amaranth. Over the past several years, the gluten-free diet has grown in popularity and manufactures have responded by stocking grocery store shelves with gluten free products such as gluten-free pasta, crackers, salad dressings, chips and pre-packaged meals.
While following a gluten-free diet should be harmless, there are a few details dieters should pay attention to when on this diet. A poorly planned gluten-free diet can be fattening and short on essential vitamins. This is because manufacturers of gluten-free products, such as gluten free baked goods, often replace the wheat products with fat to ensure that the item still tastes good. Experts, such as Cynthia Kupper at the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America, recommend that individuals follow a natural gluten-free diet to reap the benefits of no gluten without the negative side effects.
For more information on how to lose weight safely and effectively please call Dr. Ashley at 630-554-9991