It’s one of the most popular diet plans out there at the moment, but does going gluten-free help with weight loss? Let’s look at the fad, the fact and the fiction.
The truth is that following a gluten-free diet will probably help you to lose weight in the long run, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should be eliminating gluten entirely from your diet. Given that gluten is found is most grains (wheat, spelt, barley, rye) and is therefore present in a lot of processed foods, it’s likely that people who opt to follow this diet will lose weight.
It’s a tough one to fully understand; people who eat a gluten-free diet generally tend to make healthier food choices because they are more aware of the need to read food labels and therefore more conscious of what they’re consuming.
Through cutting out processed foods and making healthier nutrition choices, weight loss is almost inevitable, but my advice would always be that unless you’ve been medically advised to eliminate gluten from your diet due to a diagnosis of coeliac disease, there’s no reason to cut it out entirely.
If you do choose to cut out gluten, then it’s pretty likely that you’ll be eliminating foods like bread, pizza, pasta, cakes, muffins, biscuits and more – and that’s likely to benefit your waistline. But don’t be fooled – simply opting for gluten-free options doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be a healthy weight. While fruits and vegetables and whole foods are healthier, many store-bought gluten free foods can contain just as many calories, if not more, and are usually packed with sugars and saturated fats.
So what should I do?
When you’re looking to lose weight, it’s more important to take a look at your eating habits as a whole; it’s possible that your difficulty to drop a few pounds has more to do with your daily sugar-packed coffee drink than to do with your gluten intake.
Incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and lean meats into your meals is a much better way of balancing your diet and will help your body to get the nutrients it needs; these food choices are likely to be lower in calories and will therefore aid weight loss.
The bottom line is that it’s only necessary to follow a gluten-free diet if you have coeliac disease. But, those who choose to go gluten-free through choice will probably find that it helps their weight loss – as long as they continue to eat well. The gluten-free food market has changed dramatically over the last few years, and supermarkets now have whole aisles dedicated to gluten-free food.
But, as I said earlier, it doesn’t mean that all gluten-free foods are created equal – and apple and a gluten-free cookie are both free from gluten, but their nutritional values differ greatly. If you’re still thinking of following a gluten-free diet to help you with your weight loss, make sure that you read the labels carefully, and ensure that still you’re getting plenty of nutrient-rich foods in your diet – otherwise you could be eliminating gluten and still not seeing the results you want.