Here’s my take on this controversial topic.

Let’s get one thing straight – if you have celiac disease or have been diagnosed with gluten intolerance, you absolutely need to eliminate 100% of the gluten from your diet.  This means ALL gluten – even the hidden gluten.  But there are some people that do not have a gluten intolerance or celiac disease but think that by eliminating gluten they will lose weight.  There’s a lot of controversy around this notion.  Let’s examine some of the differing opinions.

There are, of course, some people that absolutely do lose weight by eliminating gluten.  But why do they?  Is it because they are actually eating fewer calories than before?  This is definitely true in some cases, mine for one.  When I cut out gluten from my diet, I drastically cut down on how much bread and flour tortillas I used to eat, thereby cutting down calories.  But could the reduction in calories also be because my body was now able to absorb the appropriate nutrients from the food I was eating and therefore I wasn’t as hungry as I had been before?  I do remember before always feeling hungry and after I went gluten free, I didn’t have that “starving” feeling anymore.  So I lost weight.  But what was the real reason?  I think there is more research to be done in this area.

So on the one hand, eating fewer calories certainly will help in weight loss.  For me, this occurred because I wasn’t eating near the amount of bread that I used to.  You know the story – you go out to a restaurant and what do they bring you to eat first?  That’s right, bread.  And usually it’s the really fresh, steaming hot sourdough French bread.  And you can’t just have one piece of that!  And with the butter, yum!  So that was out.  I used to also eat turkey sandwiches on a regular basis as well as toast with breakfast.  And, of course it would be the whole wheat kind for good health.  And who could forget flour tortillas?  I used to eat those too.  Quesadillas, burritos (both breakfast burritos and regular burritos), etc., were a favorite.  So as you can see, by cutting out all that would bring the calories down.  One thing to note though, I didn’t substitute with gluten free breads and brown rice tortillas – I just cut them out.

On the other hand, if you go gluten free and substitute what you used to eat with the gluten free options, you will still be eating a lot of calories.  “Some people who go gluten-free seek out specialized baked goods, crackers and other products to replace the ones containing gluten. Although fine in moderation, these foods contain significant calories. In fact, some gluten free products are even more calorie-dense than their counterparts with gluten because of added sugars and the presence of white rice flour and potato starch. “Gluten-free” on the label does not mean a product is low calorie or healthful.” Read more:

“Although significant, unexplained weight loss is often a symptom of celiac disease–some who are intolerant of gluten actually suffer from bloating, stomach distension and weight gain. These individuals usually do see a decrease in these symptoms when eating a gluten-free diet and may automatically lose weight. A gluten-free diet that eliminates refined flour and simple sugars–such as those found in packaged cookies and snacks–will improve health and help with weight loss. Many people report feeling better and more energized after giving up gluten.”  Read more:

So if you are a person who loves to eat breads and desserts but want to try going gluten free to lose weight and are not celiac or gluten intolerant, you may have to watch those calories.  Or maybe you should get checked to see if you are gluten intolerant.

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