Gluten is a form of protein that is found in wheat, barley, and rye products. Recently, the words “gluten free” have been plastered on prepackaged foods in the grocery store and in restaurants and cafes, which has led consumers to thinking that a gluten free diet will help them lose weight. This blog will explore if this recent fad is in fact true.
First things first, there is a disease in which people cannot consume gluten. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease where the digestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. People with celiac must live a strictly gluten-free lifestyle to avoid damage to their bodies. As a result, manufacturers must note if a product is gluten free on packaging. People that are not found to be celiac through blood tests, but still have negative reactions to gluten, can be determined to have gluten intolerance. People with gluten intolerance can consume gluten without causing harm to the body, but they will most likely feel negative effects such as an upset stomach.
But, should a person without celiac or an intolerance swap out their whole wheat bread for gluten free bread to lose weight? There answer is no.
First, eating gluten free requires cutting out foods that are nutrient dense, therefore it is difficult yet necessary to monitor levels of B12, iron, wheat, folate and more. Next, you must take your whole diet into account to determine if it is considered healthy. If you were to cut out gluten and eat more fruits and vegetables, then yes it would be “healthier.” However, if you cut out gluten and eat foods higher in fats and sugars, then your diet would not be healthier. The following are nutrition labels for Snyders Pretzel Sticks:
On the left is the label for gluten free pretzel sticks and on the right is the label for regular pretzel sticks. As you can see, based off of the serving size, both pretzel types are almost equal in fats, sodium, and carbohydrates. Therefore, there is no real advantage of going gluten free simply in an effort to lose weight. Remember, when choosing grains, make sure to choose whole grains. They are packed with fiber, protein, and vitamins that will keep you feeling full and satisfied for a longer period of time!
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Call to book your complimentary coaching call with Kay today at: 301-869-1787 if you think you are experiencing emotional eating.
Sweet Life Wellness Student Intern
Dietetics student at University of Maryland-College Park