Gluten Free Diet for Weight Loss September 23, 2013 nutrition, weight management Gluten free diet weight loss Hi everyone, So 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 challenges.. Over the weekend I was approached by a friend who (like many) wanted a quick fix to drop a few kilograms. Irrespective of me being able to give a few suggestions for easy switches that would have been sure to make at least a couple of kilograms drop off without effort, the part of the conversation that really made my blood tingle was when I was informed that she had recently visited a naturopath whom similarly to all my other naturopath turned dietitian patients had been recommended to cut out all dairy and gluten, but wasn’t exactly seeing any of the results she had been hoping for in her weight loss or fat loss efforts. (Just for clarity, I think naturopaths and dietitians can work hand in hand with their own set of knowledge and skills to hopefully see someone achieve their results more effectively, rather than thinking it has to be one or the other. I don’t know that many naturopaths, but the ones I have met are great individuals, so I certainly am not intending on scolding a whole profession here in one passing comment). My awesome naturopath friend who I nothing short of respect and support! The part of this conversation that really got to me, was when the recommendation around switching from weetbix to corn flakes was made, simply because the corn flakes were gluten free. For anyone who has read the nutrition information panel on a box of corn flakes you will know that this is simply a refined carbohydrate packed with sodium (salt)..not exactly a weight loss miracle pill if you ask me! An example of the corn flakes I found in American Samoa At this point I stood up, went and collected a variety of cereals, bars, and nuts that I thought were all far more beneficial for weight loss, and came back with a take home pack for my friend, with which she replied, “I feel like I’ve just gone to the healthy supermarket!”. Just one of the bars I gave my friend from Goodness Superfoods- BARLEYmax high fibre bars. With 8g of dietary fibre for 500kJ, and containing resistant starch which is usually lost in processing, this bar is great for your gut health, digestive system, and keeping you full if you want to lose weight. So following on from this encounter..and seeing that the post I wrote a couple of months ago has since been by far my most searched for and read article; I feel there is a need to expand on everything a little further, and go into a bit more depth! As mentioned last time, there is a difference between being diagnosed with coeliac disease or being gluten intolerant. So where to start.. Typically with coeliac disease, as a result of villus atrophy (destruction/death of the lining of the gut), there is an ongoing lack of nutrient absorption, which can result in weight loss, iron deficient anaemia, osteoporosis, gastrointestinal upsets, as well as a number of other associated problems. coeliac disease potential symptoms – from the gluten free dude blog – gluten free diet weight loss Gluten intolerance on the other hand can present itself with a diverse array of symptoms or outcomes, ranging from gastrointestinal upset, fertility issues, associations with depression, or even internal inflammation which can lead onto a range of other health conditions. As you can see, there does seem to be some overlap with the above info graphic about coeliac disease (it is just still important to understand that the underlying mode of action of these problems inside our body, and the detrimental outcomes are not entirely the same). Coeliac disease can be tested for by undergoing a blood test to measure antibody marker levels, such as those against one of the types of gluten proteins, as well as enzymes that are responsible for breaking down these proteins. If the test comes back positive, and there are raised antibody markers present, then a biopsy of the gut is performed to see if there is damage to the villi. As an additional screening tool, you can also have a genetic test (could be as a mouth swab) performed. This test looks for a particular gene, HLA DQ2 or HLA DQ8 which is known to be present in coeliacs (a positive genetic test does not automatically equate to having coeliac disease, however a negative test can typically rule it out). This test on its own, is not diagnostic. coeliac disease diagnosis chart from the coeliac society of Australia Okay, so then where does gluten intolerance sit in all of this (given this appears to be main topic of conversation these days, and the amount of times I have heard people around the table tell me they are gluten intolerant is beyond worth counting anymore!). Some people will find that they test positive for the antibodies in their blood against the gluten proteins, having slight elevations in their markers (I should note, this can be on a spectrum, it is not simply positive or negative), but then they do not appear to have issues found in their biopsy. These people may benefit from a reduction in gluten containing foods, but do not necessarily need to be as strict as those diagnosed with coeliac disease. (I’ll be honest though, from my personal experience, most people that I have spoken with that have attempted to cut out gluten with the thought that it will have some miraculous health or weight loss benefit have certainly not undergone these first tests!). A gluten containing meal, that is still exceptionally healthy, with a dense dark seeded bread topped with a smoked trout and vegetable salad. Someone who is intolerant may have been able to handle this one meal if they didnt consume a heavy load of additional gluten containing foods that day..but due to an unnecessary level of restriction, may have missed out. You also have people that will react to some of the other proteins found inside gluten containing grains, which are not actually measured for in the standard coeliac disease tests. This is the instance where performing a gluten challenge, and removing all gluten for a month or so, and then reintroducing it to see if there are any changes in symptoms can be beneficial. Alright, so now that we know the clear difference between the two conditions, and the health concerns and testing involved, we come back to the initial discussion around going gluten free for weight loss. I hope the above information has shared the “health” benefits of gluten free eating, as opposed to the “weight loss” benefits, as these are not necessarily hand in hand. With gluten free products being manufactured left right and centre, and sales continuing to increase, it is clear that people are shifting towards this way of eating, and that the food companies have caught on. I showed on my facebook profile last week a new range of gluten free products that are available, that certainly were not the best products from a weight loss perspective, with glucose and fructose being within the first couple of ingredients of the cereals and bars. Gluten free bars that are not healthy simply because they dont contain gluten Be aware that if a product is simply gluten free as a result of replacing a gluten containing grain for a sugar or alternative gluten free grain (like these products were), that are still refined or high glycemic index, you will still be kicking your body’s infammatory processes into gear, and ultimately be causing your body harm, just through a different mode of action. A gluten free diet can be extremely nutrient dense, as long as you select the correct foods. Celebrate health great gluten free products that are high in fibre and nutrients to benefit your wellbeing Celebrate health have made some wonderful healthy products that are also gluten free Whenever I read articles about a gluten free diet being a hard one to obtain adequate dietary fibre or nutrients, I cringe..you certainly can have an exceptionally high fibre diet from gluten free foods! Have people forgotten about some of the basics? legumes, lentils, non-starchy vegetables, starchy vegetables, nuts, seeds, and even some of the gluten free flours are all fibre containing, or even high fibre options (for everyone actually, irrespective of what “diet” you select to consume!). A gluten free meal that is definitely high in fibre due to all the vegetables that I included. It was also packed with protein and omega 3’s with a can of tuna underneath a small amount of melted cheese. Overall, not high in calories, very high in protein and fibre, and gluten free. It is possible, you just have to be smart about your choices. It is when you simply look at replacing a gluten containing food, with the standard manufactured alternative, such as the majority of gluten free breads, crackers and cereals, that you run into this issue of a lack of fibre being present. Gluten free cereal that is not high in fibre, is likely high glycemic index, and not necessarily going to be beneficial for weight loss or overall health and wellbeing. With this in mind, just make sure you actually flip over a box or packet, check the ingredients list, check the nutrition information panel, and then decide whether it is worth carrying to the checkout, or if its not really of value. Going gluten free, without taking into consideration some of the fundamental basics for successful weight loss, will not be the answer you were searching for. Going gluten free, taking into consideration the fundamentals for weight loss, and being savvy with your food selection, could definitely result in overall health and weight loss benefits. Chicken and mango salad – gluten free, high fibre, high protein, healthy (but I would say its good for weight loss due to the high protein and fibre aspects, more than simply because of the gluten free claim it can make). So there you have it, attempting to be as concise and clear as possible. I hope that all makes sense! If you want more information, maybe go back to my first article on cutting out gluten, wheat, and dairy for weight loss. Please do let me know how you go with this article, Until next time, 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 Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.