Written by Lisa Nelson
Going gluten free has become incredibly popular in recent months with celebrities such as Zooey Deschanel, Miley Cyrus and Gwyneth Paltrow all firm advocates of this healthy lifestyle. As a result it is not only those who suffer from Celiac Disease who choose alternatives to flour, meaning that stores and restaurants are now far more likely to offer gluten free choices for their customers. Yet while sustaining a gluten free diet can benefit both health and fitness, there is a risk that the removal of gluten from the diet can cause an imbalance in the essential nutrients and vitamins such as protein and fiber that the body needs to repair and grow.
Fortunately, there are plenty of substitutes for gluten based products on the market which can provide the protein and fiber necessary for a healthy lifestyle. Leafy green vegetables, fruit and nuts are all high in fiber while meats and fish contain plenty of protein. Best of all, though, these foods are not only good for your insides – they play a vital role in keeping a trim figure and shedding the pounds!
Can Gluten cause Weight Gain?
According to a study published in the January 2013 edition of the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, gluten is a major factor in the obesity crisis. During the course of the research, two groups of mice were fed high fat diets – the differentiating factor being that one group consumed gluten and the other did not. The mice on the gluten free diet actually managed to lose weight without excreting lipids, indicating that gluten is more damaging to a weight loss regime than fats.
Obviously, this seems to indicate that the presence of fat in a human diet is not necessarily a precluding factor for obesity but rather, high volumes of gluten can trigger massive weight gain. It is no secret that obesity has become much more common in recent years than in the past; a fact which has been blamed on everything from high fructose corn syrup to the fast food industry. However, what if the culprit is actually gluten?
Cutting down on gluten, or excluding it from your diet altogether, can reduce bloating in those who suffer from gluten intolerance as well as lessening the symptoms of other issues such as irritable bowel disease. Additionally, the loss of gluten from a diet can actually help those with thyroid problems speed their metabolism, leading to safe and sustainable weight loss.
Boosting Weight Loss
Although the gluten free diet may have become the new darling of Hollywood, it is wrong to assume that cutting out products such as wheat and rye automatically leads to weight loss. As the gluten free diet becomes more and more popular, companies are looking to cash in on this lucrative market by creating snacks which taste just as good as the regular junk food on sale in stores across the country.
Unfortunately, while the gluten may be absent in these products, the calories certainly are not. This is largely because many gluten free companies simply substitute gluten with glycerin, a sugar alcohol compound used widely in the pharmaceutical industry. It may not cause problems for celiac sufferers, but can still contribute to weight gain. Therefore, it is still extremely important to pay attention to your diet if you are seeking to maintain or lose weight. Small changes such as switching regular potato chips for sweet potato chips, having vegetables instead of gluten free pasta with a meat dish and having fruit instead of cookies as a snack can all help shave inches from your waist. Additionally, implementing a consistent exercise routine whilst taking a weight loss optimizing supplement can speed up this process and ensure your body burns calories more efficiently in the long term.
Best Gluten Free Alternatives
The key to success in losing weight, whilst remaining gluten free, is education. Learning which substitutes are likely to cause the pounds to pile on is essential, as they can then be avoided. In general, sticking with natural ingredients will yield the best results as bloating is minimized and added sugars tend not to be a problem. Using rice flour rather than corn flour in baking prevents too much starch entering your diet, although sorghum is really the ideal ingredient. Buckwheat, quinoa and amaranth are excellent if you prefer seed flours, while nut flours such as chestnut, almond and filbert all pack a punch in terms of fiber.
Lisa Nelson is a full time writer and mother of two. She enjoys being able to combine her love of cooking and healthy food with writing. When not working or attempting to be creative, she enjoys spending time outdoors with her family.