Today’s world is run by marketing, fads and a level of social connectedness which has never been experienced before. For this reason, it can be very difficult to sort fact from fiction. So just what is gluten and does it have anything to do with you? First we need to understand what gluten actually is and then we need to look at why everyone is touting negativity about it.
What is gluten?
Gluten is as natural and normal as any vitamin or mineral, leaving out the long discussion on genetically modified foods. It is part of the proteins that make up the endosperm in wheat and helps to nourish plants during their germination. It is also what gives the elasticity or chewiness to dough in baked goods. Though primarily found in wheat, it can also be found in barley and rye. It is in nearly everything we eat, and on its own, it is not fattening. It is not toxic. It is not bad. It is all natural, can be organic and can be non-GMO.
Why eat 100% gluten free?
Gluten free diets are not new, but they are newly popular. Eating gluten free is a way of life for those with Celiac disease. This is a condition where the lower intestine cannot tolerate gluten and therefore causes a range of symptoms from severe and chronic digestive problems to intestinal cancer. Some people have Celiac with no symptoms at all. The truth is only 1%, 1 person out of every 140 in a population of 320 million, is diagnosed with Celiac disease. So should gluten free diets be a mainstay across the country? No. It’s like creating a peanut free diet because there is a peanut allergy.
Why avoid gluten?
Around 6% of the United States is gluten intolerant. This does not mean they cannot have any gluten, but they should moderate it and adjust their gluten intake according to what their body is telling them. Gluten sensitivity can cause irregular bowels, bloating, digestive discomfort, fatigue and joint pain. There is also a wheat allergy, which like most allergic reactions, can cause skin rashes, respiratory difficulty or gastrointestinal pains. You will know immediately if this is you. You should not self-diagnose any disease in your body but particularly gluten problems. If you have an intolerance to gluten, there will be elevated antibodies in your system that are easily seen by a doctor. If you have self-diagnosed and gone gluten free, the tests will be inaccurate and further testing will be needed.
Will a gluten free diet help with weight loss?
No. Actually the opposite is true if you choose to consume gluten free products. When something is made gluten free, sugars and fats are added to give it the flavor and texture from the missing wheat. This in turn will be higher in calories causing you to gain weight! Most people who go gluten free will gain 15-20 pounds in the first year. The only way a gluten free diet helps you to lose weight is if you stop eating gluten products and their gluten free equivalents. This is basically a diet free of carbohydrates, meaning mostly fruits and vegetables with some meats. Anyone will lose weight eating like this, but very few will be able to maintain the eating regime for very long.
So what is the answer with gluten?
Most of us can and should eat gluten. The less processed we can get food, the better. If you want to lose weight, then consume less calories, eat more natural foods and exercise. If you’re unsure of what to eat in general, let Veestro create a meal plan for you. We offer full weight loss programs as well as 21 day Kickstart programs to get your health in check. We do offer a gluten free menu, but this is designed for all of those whose bodies will not allow them to eat it. It is not intended to be for everyone.