From celebrities to professional athletes, there is a lot of excitement surrounding gluten-free diets, claiming that they are so healthy and beneficial. People who are trying to lose weight are particularly passionate about it.
We often see supermarkets filled with products that boast about being gluten-free. But is it really worth the hype? What is the reality? In this article, we will explore what a gluten-free diet is and whether it helps you lose weight.
What Is A Gluten-Free Diet And Its Benefits?
A gluten-free diet is a diet that excludes foods that contain gluten. Gluten is a special type of protein that is commonly found in grains like wheat, rye, and barley. Consumption of gluten is considered harmful to people who suffer from health conditions like celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where the body mistakenly attacks itself by creating antibodies in the presence of gluten. This can cause serious gastrointestinal problems with symptoms ranging from bloating to intestinal failure.
Doctors recommend gluten-free diets in order to treat patients with these health conditions. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, dairy products, and lean protein are naturally gluten-free foods available.
Besides treating people with gluten sensitivity, studies have proven that it can also benefit people with irritable bowel syndrome.
Now, how does it benefit people without gluten intolerance? A gluten-free diet restricts the intake of processed, unhealthy food products, and encourages people to include more fruits and vegetables in their diet. With increased consumption of foods high in vitamins and minerals, you become more resistant to allergens and viral diseases.
Gluten-Free Diet And Weight Loss
A gluten-free lifestyle has become popular in today’s society. People intentionally ditch everything gluten-containing, claiming it is unhealthy. And some avoid it, believing it will help them lose weight. Unfortunately, there is no scientific evidence to prove these claims.
However, it has been observed that people who adopt this lifestyle often lose weight. But it is mainly due to cutting out refined carbs and processed foods containing gluten. Eating whole foods like fruits and vegetables that are healthier and low in calories can also help shed a few pounds.
But the initial weight loss you have noticed may vanish with the overconsumption of processed gluten-free food and if you are not controlling the portion size. Cakes and cookies in stores with gluten-free labels are often high in fat, sugar, and calories. Weight gain, sudden changes in blood sugar, hypertension, and other difficulties can be caused by eating these foods.
In this instance, they have more potential for weight gain than gluten-containing equivalents. Eating anything more than your body can burn, even if it is healthy, can result in weight gain. So, a gluten-free label doesn’t necessarily mean that something is healthy.
Firstly, unless you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, you don’t have to avoid gluten. Although there are several health benefits to switching to a gluten-free diet, it can backfire. Experts say gluten-free foods can create a halo effect on people, making them assume everything with gluten-free labels is healthier.
Little do they know that most of these gluten-free products on the market contain more calories than their gluten-containing counterparts. Following are the high expenses, most packaged gluten-free products available on the market are expensive.
Lastly, eliminating whole grains may lead to a lack of fiber and essential vitamins in the body which are said to lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease and regulate cholesterol and blood sugar.
A gluten-free diet is more beneficial to people who have serious health issues like celiac disease or gluten intolerance. If you don’t have any such issues, gluten should not be cut out of your diet. For gluten-tolerant individuals, sticking to a completely gluten-free diet can harm their gut health as it unnecessarily restricts much-needed nutrition. Unlike the hype, going gluten-free does not guarantee weight loss.
Hence, it is recommended to focus more on the quality and quantity of food to lose weight rather than restricting your diet. And if you are considering a gluten-free diet, consult a physician or registered dietitian who can help you create a personalized eating plan that meets your specific nutritional needs.
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