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Does a Gluten-Free Diet Help You Lose Weight?

Health Magazine says gluten-rich foods are generally good for you.

The first time I remember hearing the word "gluten" was at an elementary school bake sale. The sign on the cupcakes said "gluten-free." A parent manning the booth told me her son was allergic and she brought those for him and the other kids. 

I tasted one and it was okay but it had a weird consistency. I decided I'd rather be dessert-free than eat one. I had hoped her son enjoyed them though. I tossed the cupcake in the garbage. I was happy to have tried something gluten-free though.

I looked up the word and found out that it sort of means wheat. I was shocked. I had switched my family from unhealthy white pasta and bread to healthy wheat pasta and bread. Why would someone remove the gluten? So does that mean they eat the unhealthy white bread now? Why?

Here's Wikipedia's definition of gluten. 

"Gluten (from Latin gluten, "glue") is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye. Gluten gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape and often gives the final product a chewy texture. Gluten may also be found in some cosmetics, hair products, and other dermatological preparations."

I believe that gluten is following in the footsteps of eggs. If you eat too many, it could raise your cholesterol level. Remember a long time ago when a lot of people cut down on their egg consumption?

Eggs had a terrible reputation. If you had too many you'd die an early death. Eggs were pure evil!

And then someone came up with a cool ad campaign. Remember "The Incredible Edible Egg?" And the egg industry's marketing teams started publicizing the benefits of eggs including that they are a fairly lean protein and only 90 calories per serving. The yokes also have iron which is great for brain development.

No, you shouldn't cook eggs in full blown fatty oil, or eat several a day but you don't have to cut them out of your diet to be healthy.

Gluten might be following in eggs' footsteps. I hear people vilify gluten constantly. It's definitely the trendy thing to do. But I'm not jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon! I love my wheat bread!

I was at a business networking event the other day and people were sharing ways they improved their health this year.  

A man said that he stopped eating gluten and lost four pounds. Okay, if it works for him, then that's great but keep keep in mind that the way to lose weight is to decrease your calories in and increase your calories out by the way of physical activity.

Gluten doesn't make you fat. Eating too much of anything makes you fat.

I've been in a health management program for more than a decade with a registered dietician and generally this is what you need to do to drop pounds. If you add a "trick" that's fine but don't push it on other people.  

What do the health experts think about gluten?

Registered Dietician Cynthia Sass was quoted in the January/February 2013 issue of Health Magazine on the topic. She says, "I'm seeing more women on vegan and gluten-free diets, not for ethical or health reasons, but to shed pounds. Thing is if you don't replace the lost carbs, protein, and fat -- a.k.a. macronutrients -- it can lead to weight gain, irritability, fatigue, and digestive issues."

So be careful if you cut gluten out of your diet especially to lose weight.

But logically, if you notice that any food is giving you a negative reaction, definitely don't eat it. This could be anything from chocolate to cucumbers to cow's milk.

My family, however, will continue to eat gluten because there are plenty of healthy gluten-rich foods that are an essential part of our diet.

Did you cut gluten out of your diet or will you continue to eat it?

Do you have any extra gluten knowledge to share with readers?

If you do have a negative reaction to gluten, what is your favorite gluten-free recipe?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Kathy Ottenberg February 04, 2013 at 10:20 PM
Gluten is a protein found in wheat and a number of other grains. Some people have 'celiac disease', in which their body does not produce the elements needed to break down and digest gluten (from any source) - therefore, gluten makes them very sick. Other people, for a variety of reasons, have a sensitivity to gluten - it might make their joints hurt and cause bloating. So, of course, they prefer to avoid gluten. In those people, by avoiding the gluten that causes bloating, avoidance helps them to lose weight. For people who are having trouble losing weight, trying a gluten-free diet may help them determine if gluten is causing bloating, and thereby contributing to weight loss problems. Some doctors think that the current, genetically modified (GMO) grains, such as wheat, have been responsible for more of these gluten sensitivities in recent years - since the gluten protein in GMO grains is different than what our bodies have adapted to through evolution. So, hopefully this provides some further info for those confused about the 'gluten-free' issue.
Michelle McIntyre February 04, 2013 at 10:53 PM
This is very helpful, Kathy. I try to be journalistic and somewhat brief in my posts and this adds a really nice opinion with great details. I believe that altering what you eat can truly solve a lot of health problems.
Neighbor February 05, 2013 at 06:18 AM
My personal take on gluten is that even a tiny amount causes IBS issues and it leaves my stomach with a super bloaty feeling. Some people say this can be caused from 'leaky gut' but I am not an authority on the subject. I don't necessarily believe that gluten free desserts are going to help you lose weight either, but I do feel much better eliminating gluten from my diet, leaky gut or not. Perhaps it also helps me to eliminate calorie and sugar heavy 'pasty' as well.

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