Diet trends come and go, but one health-focused fad that continues to grow increasingly more popular amongst celebrities and average Americans alike, is going “gluten free.” Sticking to a gluten free diet claims to drastically improve general health as well as promote weight loss, but how well does it really work? Let?s dive in a little bit more to scout out real answers about this latest health and fitness craze.
So what the heck IS gluten??
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and any products containing any of these grains, some of which might surprise you! While eating gluten free foods is crucial for those who have Celiac Disease, gluten can also be bothersome for those who suffer from Gluten Intolerance or a wheat allergy. Common symptoms between the three are abdominal cramps, diarrhea, bloating, nausea, vomiting, indigestion, etc ? you get the point! If you?re experiencing any of these on a regular basis and you suspect you may have a gluten intolerance, be sure to discuss it with your healthcare team before starting a gluten-free diet.? A correct diagnosis requires medical testing while any gluten is still in your system.? Keep in mind, there are a lot of other conditions that cause these symptoms as well, so you gotta’ go see your doc to make darn sure!
It?s also important to know that other ingredients in gluten-containing products could possibly be the source of the symptoms you?re experiencing, so going gluten free might be unnecessary – and could be totally medically misleading. For nearly 6 years we thought Chris suffered from gluten intolerance, when all the while it was soy that was causing his issues! Go figure… 🙂
Now for the hot question of the day: Does going gluten free mean you?ll lose weight? Not necessarily. People who go gluten free might lose weight simply because they?re paying attention to what and how much they’re eating and cutting out all those not-so-healthy gluten-containing foods like cakes, cookies, refined flour breads, etc. Any lost pounds might not have anything to do with being gluten free! However, it?s just as easy to gain weight on a gluten free diet because gluten free doesn?t mean calorie free ? and we are still bound by the basic laws of physics that dictate that we must consume fewer calories than we burn to lose weight!!
In fact, a good friend of ours and pioneer in body morphing, Drew Manning (@fit2fat2fit), intentionally gained nearly 30lbs following a gluten-free diet, and then lost it all ? also following a gluten free diet.? Check out his journey, as well as his first jaw-dropping journey of weight gain and weight loss where he intentionally gained nearly 75 pounds to gain appreciation (and compassion) for those going through the weight loss journey.
When it comes to eating gluten-free foods, beware!!? Following the craze and demand, a lot of food manufacturers have been quick to jump on the gluten free bandwagon and often replace the gluten in their products with more fat, sugar, sodium, and/or calories, as well as highly refined fillers that can affect your blood sugar and increase cravings. Not good at all!
So what?s the solution? If you don?t have Celiac Disease, a confirmed Gluten Intolerance, or a wheat allergy, you will most likely be just fine eating whole grain and sprouted grain products with gluten in them (the less processed, the better!).? And as usual, you can NEVER go wrong with good ol real, whole, natural foods like vegetables, fruits, lean meats, fish, poultry, nuts and seeds, reduced or fat free dairy, and healthy fats, like we do in Carb Cycling?that?s how the Powell Pack rolls! And if you do decide gluten free is right for you, carefully read those food labels to make sure you?re getting the most bang for your calorie and nutrition buck!
For more info on gluten, Gluten Intolerance, and Celiac Disease, check out these resources:
My family of 7 has gone gluten-free. As well as cut out extra sugar, msg & artificial color. My 8 yo has leukemia and my 6 yo has oppositional defiant disorder (O.D.D.) and from what I am finding out all of these things are behavior triggers. I feel like the Cancer diagnosis has gotten out of control. And this helps me be hyper aware of what my family is putting in their body. And it also cuts out the fast food.
I’m sorry but I just don’t understand carb cycling. Read Chris’ book but still don’t get what a high carb is and what is a low carb?
There’s an awesome graphic (as well as some other great info) in this post that will outline how to put together every meal – both low and high carb. Check it out!
Im in the understanding that high carb days mean you can consume foods with carbs, and low carb days means you watch the amount of carbs you intake. Cutting out carbs all together is not healthy, but alternating the days you eat lots of carbs and the days you don’t eat many carbs is the best option.
THANK YOU!!! Genuine, sincere, thanks!
As the wife of a wheat farmer, I was hesitant to read this because I was worried that you would support a gluten-free diet for everyone. There are so many trends when it comes to diets, and (aside from allergies) it is usually best to stick to everything in moderation. It is hard to see the popularity of a perfectly healthy product to be tarnished by the general opinion without a lot of science behind it!
Thank you again for a science-backed post!
I agree with everything you said however would live to share that i went gluten free to helo my weight loss journy. While i cant say that that one change was the magic to my sucesss gluten increases your food cravings i wanted less craving. It worked i didnt realize it until i hadn’t been eating wheat and one day snitched something and became aware really quickly that i wanted to eat everything in sight. So for food adicts like me it does help a great deal to eliminate wheat. Also if you eat processed or packaged foods read the labels some of them are loaded with calories. We eat 95% fresh or homemade. Makes a difference.
This was good information, I have been gluten free for the past year for medical issues, needs to be looked at a way of life not a diet. It has taken a year to get my body back to a healthy state. People need to remember to eat healthy and stay away from processed foods and limit their eating out and decrease soda consumption. They to can lose weight.
This was an awesome diet…I was going to look into Gluten free, not for health reasons just to try something different….I just need to clean up my diet and exercise more…I see that now…thanks Heidi
I inadvertently was gluten free as of the type of cycle diet I did. I realized I had less sinus issues, so I remained relatively gluten free. With further knowledge of nutrition, I thought gluten free items were just better carbs. What are your thoughts?
Heidi and Chris recommend eating healthy carbs (whole grains, fruits, legumes, veggies) in the right amount, but to follow your healthcare team’s recommendations for you and your health.
People really just need to calm down on the gluten-free thing. I don’t consume a lot of grains, and that’s my choice, because it’s what my body likes. When I eat a lot of grains I gain weight like Regina George in Mean Girls on Kaltene bars. But when people hear that I don’t eat a lot of grains, they automatically assume I’m gluten-free and start bringing gluten-free snacks to parties for me and stuff and I just want to *facepalm*. Whew. Okay I feel better.
I eat gluten free, because I am allergic to them. And it is no fun!!! I loved sandwiches with turkey, cucumber, tomatos, lettuce. Now I have to eat gluten free and it tastes awful! It is also very expensive… I really don’t get why people are eating like this, because they think it will help lose weight. You are so limited in your food choices..
This is awesome. I just started gluten free becaise i am trying to narrow down some of the things i eat to determine if its dairy or my soy allergies. This was an awesome article!