The gluten-free diet is sometimes promoted as a way to lose weight, this claim is scientifically unfounded. However if, like us, you prefer to view nutrition holistically, then going gluten-free is a kinder message to send to your body (the human body does not like gluten whether you are intolerant or not). So here it is 5 things to consider before starting a gluten free diet from the team behind Feast Fresh Food.
1 – Gluten dehydrates you
Gluten requires a lot of the bodies water and energy to digest it and if like most people you do not drink a minimum of 2 litres of water a day, you are further dehydrating your body by eating gluten. Dehydration in itself can lead to a whole host of other issues for your body to contend with (our next blog is on hydration!). The presence or absence of gluten alone is not related to diet quality and what is important is the overall food choices made within the diet, whether it’s gluten-free or not.
2 – It’s not all about Gluten
The presence or absence of gluten alone is not related to diet quality and what is important is the overall food choices made within the diet, whether it’s gluten-free or not. If your diet contains large amounts of gluten rich food like breads, cereals, pastas and cakes (especially those made from refined flours) switching to a diet which eliminates them, while increasing fruits, vegetables and other healthy gluten-free foods (no GF substitutes), would result in a healthier diet also, most people would find they will naturally lose weight.
3 – You could put weight on by going Gluten Free
On the other hand, you could easily substitute gluten-free breads, pastas, cereals and cakes for gluten-free alternatives without increasing the intake of healthy gluten-free foods like vegetables and fruits. In this case you may actually experience a reduction in diet quality, since many gluten-free processed foods are lower in fibre, vitamins and minerals than their gluten-containing counterparts. This type of gluten-free diet may be higher in calories, since many processed gluten-free foods contain higher levels of fat and/or sugar to compensate for flavour and texture changes which result from the removal of gluten. Any diet that contains processed ingredients is likely to promote weight gain and not weight loss.
4 – The benefits of Gluten Free
Our experience of eliminating gluten from our diet has seen a great improvement in ours and our children’s energy levels, reduced stomach aches/complaints in our children and a less ‘bloated’ feeling after meals. We’ve also seen, from nutritional test results, much improved vitamin and mineral absorption levels and finally and most basically, we have enjoyed a far less restricted and more varied diet since reducing the usual foods that are wheat based.
5 – So what can I do about going Gluten Free?
Many people find it daunting to go gluten-free and our advice to you would be to initially find good alternatives (e.g. replace white or wholewheat pasta with brown rice pasta), read all of the food labels when shopping; you’ll be amazed at what contains gluten!! and carry some nuts or homemade snacks so you don’t get that pastry/muffin/chocolate bar when you’re out! After a short period of adjustment it really will feel like second nature and you won’t even notice that you are not eating gluten.
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