Gluten-free diets are being touted as the solution to everything from digestive troubles to weight loss. So, what exactly is gluten? Can ingesting gluten-free food products cause you to gain weight? Gluten is a protein found in the grains wheat, barley, and rye. Most of us unknowingly love it because gluten gives our favourite foods that special touch – it makes pizza dough stretchy, gives bread its spongy texture, and is used to thicken sauces and soups.
In North America, twenty million people are gluten sensitive, where gas, bloating, and intestinal pain is experienced, much like a Celiac Disease. Changing your diet to gluten-free can help reduce these digestive side effects but, at the same time, increase weight gain. It is important to not just consume processed non-gluten products, as this is not a healthier diet; you can end up with serious nutritional deficiencies and weight gain. Gluten-free doesn’t necessarily equal healthy weight loss, especially when people replace vitamin-enriched, wholegrain foods with gluten-free baked goods. Most gluten-free cookies, breads, pastas, and other products are made with highly refined grains and vegetables like rice and potatoes. These highly processed foods increase blood sugar and surplus the hormone insulin, which is an energy-storing hormone. This causes the cells to eventually block the transport of glucose “carbs” into the cells, creating a greater need for glucose to be outputted. This cycle causes malnutrition. This leads to increased hunger and overeating, which then increases the amount of fat cells as insulin cannot be transported into the cell for energy production.
So, you can see how switching to a gluten-free diet can cause more harm than good. The solution is to consume more leafy greens, nuts and seeds, and lean protein when removing gluten from the diet and not replacing it with processed sources of food. Only then will your health improve, and weight can come off.
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