Dairy, Gluten and Wheat – The Miracle to Weight Loss…Apparently?! April 30, 2013 weight management 6 Comments Dairy, Gluten and Wheat – The Miracle to Weight Loss…Apparently?! Alright, so this post has been a long time coming, and today, it is finally here! I have taken part in so many discussions around dairy, gluten, and wheat for that matter too, and have been asked time and time again “do I need to cut it out completely?” “Is it ‘clean’?” Lets clarify a couple of things first just to make sure we are all on the same page to begin: Lactose intolerance does not equal a need to avoid all dairy. Wheat intolerance does not equal a need to go completely gluten free. Gluten intolerance does not equal the same requirements as a coeliac. Okay, so what do I mean by this: Yes lactose is found in dairy products, no, not all dairy products contain the same levels of lactose to require their complete avoidance should you have trouble digesting the lactose. As you can see, many of the cheeses have negligible lactose, yoghurt with live active cultures actually break down some of the lactose that is present making it easier to digest when you consume it, and the fat inside full cream milk has been seen to help some people tolerate small amounts of milk. We then have the great milk debate, where some people switch to rice based milk thinking that it is healthier to cows milk. I am going to throw it out there, rice based milk is very low in protein, does not contain all the micronutrients you find in cows milk, and has never been recommended to any of my clients who actually want to lose weight. There are an array of alternative milks such as lactose free cows milk, A2 milk, soy milk (which gets a pretty hard wrap from the media at times), and almond milk even. All of these are at least low GI and richer in some form of beneficial nutrient (e.g. almond milk provides a significant amount of Vitamin E, whilst lactose free cows milks can provide the same calcium, phosphorus, B group vitamins and potassium as the lactose containing counterparts). So saying that simply because a food is dairy free it is healthier is not entirely correct. We also have many soy, rice, and coconut based yoghurts which are not always very high in protein and are often much denser in calories compared to a plain greek style milk based yoghurt. My suggestion, if you are not ‘allergic’ to dairy, but find that you are stuck with stomach troubles after consuming a 200g yoghurt, cut down to a few spoonfuls, and then even add in some nuts rather than switching over to a more sugar dense and less filling alternative. You might even enjoy the taste more, who knows? (and guess what, you get the benefits of a range of other fat soluble vitamins from the nuts!). Don’t get me wrong, if you enjoy these foods, by all means, consume and enjoy them, I am just suggesting you do not cut the original version out unnecessarily thinking that you are doing something miraculous for your health or weight management efforts. Then we move onto wheat. Wow this grain has been shot to the ground in recent years! Again, yes, some people are intolerant, but what does this mean in regards to its consumption? That we should all switch to one of the commonly high GI gluten free breads instead? No, I don’t think so. If you find that a large refined white bread foccacia leaves you feeling bloated and unable to lose weight (yes, even if it was a vegetarian filled one!), but when you cut it out and order a chicken salad instead, that you feel better and are able to lose weight, then guess what, you are not alone! This is completely supportive of weight loss, but we can not say that it was the wheat alone that was responsible for this amazing event. Have you ever thought that it could have been the result of switching to a lower GI, higher protein, lower calorie, and more nutrient dense meal that led to these results? Yes, unhealthy for everyone, irrespective of it containing wheat or gluten. The portion size also makes a difference. I swear, try having one slice of grainy bread (yes, made from wheat or a gluten containing grain) along with your chicken salad, and see if that leads to the same bloating and discomfort as your large focaccia, I could almost put money on it that it would not! …And then we have the other common practice that I see these days where someone decides to cut down on their wheat intake, but then they automatically remove all gluten containing grains. Have you seen this? Gluten is found in wheat, yes, but wheat is not found in every grain containing gluten..I’ll be honest, I am slightly confused at the logic with this one in relation to why the roll on effect to cutting everything out is going to be the miracle cure to all of lifes health or weight problems. Healthy meal on rye bread; Not gluten free, but still can be included as part of a healthy and enjoyable diet! Yes there does seem to be a lot of information out there pointing in the direction of many people having intolerances to gluten that have not been picked up on by common tests, and yes, SOME of the gluten containing grains or products are nutritionally superior to the gluten containing counterparts, but not ALL. These blanket rules that restrict foods unnecessarily seem a bit sad if you ask me. I promise, you can be healthy on the inside, feel confident in your clothes and with your body shape, and have a huge array of different foods in your diet to ENJOY! Trust me, I’ve done this personally, and with hundreds of clients! Breakfast that contains both gluten and dairy..and guess what it is SUPER HEALTHY! I have used a BARLEYmax based wrap as the pancake base, which is high in fibre and contains resistant starch for good gut health. The end meal is also a great source of protein, rich in pre and probiotics, and is antioxidant packed. Oh, and lets not forget that it is also low in calories to help with weight loss! As an example, coconut flour and lupin flour are nutritionally fantastic! If there was an option at a cafe to order a bread made solely from these gluten free grains, then I too would select it over the regular wheat based bread. Having said that, given that in my life this has absolutely never been the option on the menu, I would be shocked if someone else could tell me they have this to select on a common basis. The gluten free bread options at cafes are often high glycemic index and lower in fibre than the wholegrain wheat based bread. Not really sure the nutritional gain on switching to the gluten free one there..?! On the other hand, there is a non genetically modified grain called BARLEYmax which is not gluten free, but is used in a range of wheat free cereals, that has double the amount of dietary fibre to the rest of the whole-grains around, and seems to work miracles when it comes to improving digestive problems and assisting people to lose weight when consumed (starting to make sense why I am such an advocate for the Goodness Superfoods range and other products that contain this grain?). I am completely onside for ordering the gluten free quinoa salad over the caeser salad with croutons, or the salmon california roll over the heavy pasta meal, but to say that every gluten free option is healthier simply because it does not contain gluten or wheat would be completely misleading. I will put it into another language, business talk, for anyone who would like a different analogy; Being gluten free can be seen as a key defining trait, it should not be seen as the unique selling factor. Healthy mexican gluten free quinoa and chicken salad If you sense you are gluten intolerant, undertake some tests and perform a proper elimination diet with the help of a dietitian. At least this way you are more likely to get a definitive answer to your concerns. Please remember that everyones tolerance to these substances are different, we are all unique, and our genetics play a big part in how our bodies will respond to them. If anyone, and I mean anyone, preaches that they have the nutritional answer for everyone, they are not being honest. Our bodies respond differently to different ingredients, and by realising that each and every one of us needs to get reacquainted with our own bodies to be able to really look after ourselves is the first step. Nutritional science is evolving. Don’t be scared by this. It is exciting! It just means we need to keep moving with it. These ingredients I speak of usually have an additive effect, in that, just because you feel bloated after consuming a wheat or gluten containing breakfast, snack, lunch, and afternoon tea, does not mean that you wouldn’t be able to manage a little at one of those meal times. BARLEYmax containing products at the back – Protein 1st cereal has the protein of 2 eggs and the fibre of a bowl of All bran; Rice Plus is a mix of quinoa, BARLEYmax, wild rice, and a whole lot of other grains that result in a higher fibre and lower GI product. Really, have a bowl of BARLEYmax based cereal for breakfast, and then have a quinoa and chicken salad for lunch, again, something tells me that most (I can’t speak for everyone obviously), would be able to manage this. You may even feel very contently full, but without feeling bloated (and guess what, it could even help you lose weight!). Okay, I sense this post is getting a bit long so I am going to stop here. Maybe I will continue it another time so as to share my thoughts as the science of nutrition evolves (which it definitely does, and I am forever learning it with a passion!). In summary, Cutting down on lactose if you find you get stomach pains is a great idea (no surprises there!), however cutting all dairy out is not necessary. Cutting down on wheat if you find you get stomach pains is a great idea (again, no surprises there!), however cutting all wheat out is not necessary. Portion control is key. Cutting out all gluten with the thought that every gluten free option is going to help you lose weight over the gluten containing counterpart is not necessarily true. Again, portion control, and the selection of the more nutritious gluten or gluten free options will be beneficial. I know people have strong opinions on this topic, and that is completely fine. I just wanted to share this with the hope of clarifying some of the confusion out there. I’ll make one final note here – In France, one of the healthiest cultures around when it comes to diet, these are the main foods I saw last year when visiting being consumed on repeat! France Food Markets- Biarritz- Fresh Breads Galore France Food Markets- Biarritz- Dairy Products Galore France Food Markets- Biarritz- Dairy Products Galore Oh, and there were similar ingredients throughout Spain and the Nordic countries too.. I will leave it at that. For now, The Travelling Dietitian x Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window) Related 6 Responses Debbie Whittle April 30, 2013 Great article – it all comes back to natural and minimally processed foods. Log in to Reply Travelling Dietitian April 30, 2013 Thanks for your comments Debbie! That is certainly one aspect of it. Keeping it simple seems to work wonders for many! Log in to Reply Gluten Free Diet for Weight Loss – Travelling Dietitian Weighs In – Part 2. | The Travelling Dietitian September 23, 2013 […] a couple months ago I wrote a post about cutting out gluten, wheat and dairy for weight loss, and why this was not necessarily going to be the answer to someones weight loss […] Log in to Reply Rachel October 18, 2013 I agree 🙂 Great article! Can I add to the natural and minimally processed foods comment? So true, but also “everything in moderation”. Why label foods as ‘bad’ or ‘good’, they should be ‘eat-sometimes’ or eat-often’ foods (unless you are seriously allergic). Log in to Reply Travelling Dietitian October 21, 2013 Yep! Log in to Reply Gluten Free Diet Weight Loss | Travelling Dietitian May 8, 2017 […] a couple of months ago I wrote a post about cutting out gluten, wheat and dairy for weight loss, and why this was not necessarily going to be the answer to someones weight loss […] Log in to Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.