Sales of gluten-free foods have soared 68% in the last two years. Almost 1.6 million Americans are gluten-free. Yet only 1% of the population actually has Celiac Disease, a disorder in which one’s immune system reacts to gluten, a protein in certain grains.
In my opinion, many people look for a quick fix. It is easy to jump at reasons/excuses why we are doing everything right and still not losing weight. Is going gluten-free really a magic pill? Is this the ONLY reason people begin to lose weight?
Let’s look at some facts:
1) Limiting any heavy caloric food will cause weight loss
2) Gluten-free can mean less processed, therefore the product MAY retain more natural nutrients (of course this varies product to product and brand to brand, just like any food)
3) Liming the variety of processed carbohydrates will always yield a healthier body
4) Many of the companies producing gluten-free products are companies who produce organic foods. In order for a product to be labeled “gluten-free” it must contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten. Many large companies cannot control production to this minute fraction, allowing for more mom and pop or organic companies to produce gluten-free foods.
5) Even though gluten-free foods are currently available almost everywhere, they are still not as accessible as gluten-containing foods. Therefore, you might be less likely to choose a pizza, cookie or other traditional wheat product.
Gluten is a protein in grains such as wheat, spelt, rye, or kamut. Who eats spelt and rye on a regular basis? But who eats whole wheat bread for breakfast, crackers or a granola bar for a snack, a sandwich for lunch, pasta for dinner? Most Americans- most days of the week. It might not be pasta for dinner, but it might be a tortilla or even something “healthy” such as a pita.
Let me ask this: would you eat five bananas in one day, on a regular basis, day after day? Probably not. So why would you eat that much wheat in one day? Cutting out gluten does not cause the weight loss for most people.It is more likely that you are now eating a greater variety of foods and food groups. More fruits, veggies, variety of grains, less processed food (let’s face it, the gluten-free bread isn’t the most tasty), more lean proteins, more nuts and seeds and likely less sugar. These things are the likely cause of your weight loss!
Kristin Burgess, GATC R.D.