Should You Be Gluten Free? And Will You Lose Weight?

Topics: Obesity and Weight Loss, Wellness and Health

About one in 133 people have a potentially fatal, chronic autoimmune reaction to gluten (the protein complex in wheat, rye and barley) and they have celiac disease (CD). But 97% don’t know it. Or that CD—like overweight and obesity—can be cured with what you eat.

Will going GF help you lose weight, like Elizabeth Hasselbeck (the G-Free Diet)?

Many doctors still think CD is rare. It is hard to diagnose, and commonly mistaken for irritable bowel. GlutenFreeQuiz is a fun, free screening tool (full disclosure: I wrote it). The longer you have untreated CD, the more problems you develop.

Some patients with CD eat through it and gain weight with ice cream, chocolate and pop. But more commonly, when finally diagnosed, people with CD gain weight—and tremendous health–when they discover GF pasta, chips and cookies.

The people who do lose weight going GF are those who like rules. They stop eating X (hamburger buns, pasta, soy sauce), especially processed X (ditto), and finally there is some order in the world. With fewer foods to eat, you eat less.

Paradoxically, many “weight loss foods” are made with gluten derivatives: e.g., veggie burgers, cold cereals and seasoning blends.

Common CD symptoms are fatigue and bloating. Many patients who have migraines, osteoporosis, infertility, iron deficiency, arthritis, diarrhea, constipation, depression or dental enamel defects simply struggle on.

Gluten sensitivity is not the same as CD. It is even more common. Gluten sensitivity is a state of heightened immune response to gluten in genetically predisposed people.

My advice: choose GF foods which are naturally GF: rice, quinoa, millet, tapioca, sorghum, teff, buckwheat. Look for ingredients in the store, not processed foods. Find great gluten free recipes. Take a multivitamin with enough Bs: GF eaters can become deficient.

And learn to cook—a little– from scratch. You’ll get more flavor, better food, and know what is in what you eat.

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