Will going gluten free help me lose weight?
As you can imagine this has become a popular question in the last couple of years with the rise in celiac disease. If for any reason you suspect you may be celiac then the best thing to do is to go and get tested to be sure. Today’s question though is not posed by those that are celiac or suspect they are celiac, it is posed by those that are definitely not celiac but think going gluten free will help them shift the excess pounds. So will cutting out gluten help you lose weight?
The answer is probably not! Gluten is associated with starchy carbs such as bread and pasta and, understandably, many people think that going gluten free will reduce their carb intake and subsequently help them lose weight. This correlation is correct but has nothing to do with being gluten free or not. If you reduce starchy carbs you will lose weight however, if you replace these carbs with their gluten free counterparts then you will not lose any weight and could potentially put it on!
Gluten free products are heavily manufactured and can include extra fat, sugar and other additives to bring more flavour to the food. On top of these unwelcome extras they are also often lacking in naturally occurring vitamins and minerals that are present in homemade bread and pasta. Therefore, the gluten free substitute is no healthier or less calorific. The same rule applies to cakes, biscuits and any other gluten free alternative, they are not necessarily healthier just because they are gluten free. With that being said, some gluten free producers can also be very health conscious and in these instances the gluten free version may be very healthy, but this is linked more to the product being a heath product and not to the fact that it is simply gluten free.
Cutting down on starchy carbs is an appropriate way to eat healthier, reduce calories and lose weight but only if their substitutes are fruit, vegetables, protein or good sources of fat. However, cutting out any food group completely is never recommended for health purposes and starchy carbs in moderation can and should be part of a healthy balanced diet. Gluten free is only essential if you need to be gluten free, if not, enjoy the gluten in your starchy carbs, I know I do.
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