This is part 2 of a removing gluten series. In case you missed part 1, >> click here << to read it, if you wish.
In part 1 we discussed about how a gluten-free lifestyle should not be approached for the sole purpose of losing weight. However, it is important to note that there are some who go gluten-free and they do lose weight, sometimes a lot of weight. This is where a lot of frustration comes into play for the thousands upon thousands of people who went gluten-free because “Sally” next door did it and lost a lot of weight!
So, let’s talk gluten-free and weight gain.
This is where I will probably crush a lot of hopes and dreams out there. So sorry but it has to be said. Even on a gluten-free diet you still have to put the right types of foods into your body!
This is what I’ve noticed for a lot of people I’ve talked to about their weight gain and going gluten-free . . . they still ate “bad” foods! Just because something is labeled “gluten-free” does not make it the ‘magical bean’ of foods that you can eat and eat and expect to lose weight on. It just is not going to happen.
“Let’s take these ingredients, for example: Icing(Icing Sugar(may contain 2-3% corn starch), Palm Fruit Oil (Non Hydrogenated), Vanilla Flavor, Soy Lecithin, Salt), Sugar, Pea Starch, Potato Starch, Palm Fruit Oil (Non Hydrogenated), White Rice Flour, Water, Tapioca Starch, Glucose, Pea Protein, Sodium Carboxy Methylcellulose, Salt, Vanilla Flavor, Pea Fibre, Guar Gum, Inulin, Ammonium Bicarbonate(90), Sodium Bicarbonate, Soy Lecithin”
The above ingredients are from a gluten-free form of “oreo” type of cookies! I encourage you to explore each of these ingredients; you may be shocked at what you find.
I am not here, however, to tell anyone to count calories but I do know that you need to burn more calories than you take in to lose weight! You have to be aware of how much sugar, carbs, artificial additives, chemicals, dyes, pesticides, GMOs, and other various compounds that will do your body damage. For some (carbs) they are necessary but there are good carbs and bad carbs (a strawberry has good carbs, a donut has bad carbs, get the picture) and then others (sugars) are not needed in the body but you can safely consume certain sugars in moderation (raw honey, pure maple syrup, coconut sugar, etc). Then others (GMOs, artificial anything, chemicals, dyes, etc.) should never, ever be consumed.
A lot of gluten-free products contain GMOs, artificial ingredients, etc. that you should never be putting into your body. Then there are other gluten-free products that may be “all natural” or “organic” but the sugar level is ridiculous. There is no magic button for this, you need to learn to read ingredients and nutritional labels. My advice for this is to seek out a holistic nurse practitioner or a holistic nutritionist to help you comb through all of this.
What I have found is many of the people going gluten-free to lose weight ran out and bought all sorts of gluten free foods with little, if any, regard to what was in them, there sugar content, carbs, etc. If it was gluten-free then, to them, it was going to be the ‘magic bean’ of foods. Next thing you know they are gaining more weight than they did before going gluten-free. Probably because they were eating whole wheat bread instead of the extremely carb ladened gluten-free bread they switched out for . . . they swapped out “okay” foods for really bad foods and gained weight.
Have you heard the saying that if your grandmother or great-grandmother or great-great-grandmother (depending on your age) did not recognize it, then you should not eat it . . . it is so true and wise words to live by. None of us “needs” foods that come in boxes, cans, or bottles! You can get everything you need from fresh fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and meats! You can survive on those foods and never ever buy another boxed, canned, or bottled item again. Is that realistic in today’s modern world, probably not. So, you still have to do your homework, you still need to read labels, and you still need to know what proper nutrition is . . . there is not a magical diet that will eliminate the need for exercise, the need for portion control, and the need to know what you are eating . . . there are coined lifestyle changes that can help you (such as Paleo) but you need to really research these and then find what works for you . . . but, one of the key points here is that you will always need to exercise your body! Unless you live an “Amish” type of lifestyle and you are constantly out planting, working the land, and on the move, you have to incorporate exercise into your life . . . there is no magic bean that will make your body not need exercise.
So, before jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon I strongly urge you to understand what you are getting into and what those who are living this lifestyle are living it for . . . for example, if you suffer from constant chronic heartburn, IBS, and other digestive issues, then going total and complete gluten-free for (no less than) 3 months could be the right move for you . . . but talk to your doctor, naturopathic doctor, or other medical advisor before diving into any lifestyle change.
Psssttt . . . there’s a gluten-free revolution taking place and everyone’s jumping on board!
Okay, not really but for many it sure seems that way, huh? I’ve noticed quite a few people and professionals writing about “going gluten-free” . . . some for it, some against it. Mind boggling, contradicting information all over the internet.
Well, here is what YOU probably don’t know . . . all wrapped up in a neat little package.
You do not go gluten-free to lose weight! That’s right and let me repeat this . . . You DO NOT go gluten-free to lose weight!
For those that really have done their homework and understand how gluten works in the body and what it can do when it doesn’t work in the body, knows it is not about losing weight . . . it is about digestion, joint pain, headaches, and other various symptoms.
You see, gluten (the protein from wheat, barley, and rye) does not break down in anyone’s body. The human body does not break down gluten in ANYONE. That’s correct, no matter if you have Celiac, gluten intolerance, or no issues . . . gluten does not break down in the body! Gluten is merely passed through the body and eliminated.
When people “react” to gluten, it is because, in some people, as the gluten protein passes through the body, the body can view it as a foreign material and attacks it! Think of soldiers surrounding the wall of a town, guarding the town and enemies are all around it trying to get in. The soldiers are your immune system . . . when even ONE tiny, minute particle of gluten tries to go through the body it can trigger these little immune “soldiers” into fighting the particle like an enemy. When this happens all sorts of reactions (symptoms for us) can take place.
This is pretty much the same for those with Celiac, just on a much larger and much more dangerous level!
The attack on the tiny-particle of gluten can produce any number of symptoms . . . it really can mimic all sorts of ailments and illnesses. It is extremely hard to diagnose gluten intolerance. The key is if you are going to “see” if this may be your issue then you have to eliminate ALL gluten in your life. It really is all or nothing when it comes to removing gluten from your diet. Seriously, if you are reacting then even one little tiny microscopic gluten protein will set you off. So, you will not truly know if this is your issue unless you are extremely strict and diligent with removing ALL gluten.
That means, you can go purchase gluten-free bread but if you are placing it in a toaster that has toasted gluten-containing bread, you are still eating gluten! Your toaster and various other items in your kitchen still contain gluten! Gluten is “super-sticky” and clings to everything! So if you have not “glutenized” (I made up a word here, haha) (removed the gluten from) your kitchen, you have not truly gone gluten-free. You must educate yourself and learn how to truly remove gluten from your life.
If you eat out and the restaurant prepares your “gluten-free” meal in an area where gluten-containing foods have been prepared . . . you are still eating gluten!
If you eat at a salad bar and some wonderful human being has used the lettuce tongs to grab some croutons and then places the tongs back into the lettuce and you use those tongs to get your lettuce (most of the time you will never know if that has happened) then you are still eating gluten!
I cannot stress enough how important it is to have gluten removed from your life completely and totally for a period of NOT LESS THAN 90 days to truly know if gluten is an issue for you. Why? Because your gluten can attach to the fat stored in your body. It can take up to 90 days for your body to release all of the gluten that may be stored within it . . .
So, if you say, “I went gluten-free for 2 weeks and nothing happened!” . . . I’ll say, “Yup, you’re right, nothing will happen!” Because for (1) I doubt very seriously that you “glutenized” your kitchen, (2) I doubt very seriously you eliminated all gluten from your diet (that stuff is in more things than you’ll ever really know) and (3) you did not give your body long enough to rid itself of the gluten that is in it.
So, before you are quick to judge the “gluten-free” revolution as quackery . . . know what you are talking about. It is not about losing weight, it is not about a one week revolution of experiencing amazing results . . . if you really want to know if gluten is an issue for your body . . . you have to educate yourself, thoroughly remove every tiny particle from your diet (to include “glutenizing” your kitchen), and you have to stick with it for NOT LESS than 90 days.
It is my hope that this post will provide you with a little more knowledge about the whole gluten-free revolution . . . that may or may not be taking place.
Here’s to better health and wellness for us all!
There are some that have lost weight going gluten-free and that is wonderful for those that do . . . seriously, I could not be happier for those that experienced that “bonus” from living this life style. However, no one should go into a gluten-free lifestyle with the only objective being to lose weight. It is unrealistic. In fact, many that go gluten-free find that they gain weight. Many, many, many of the gluten-free alternatives are so very bad for you . . . but that is a discussion for part 2 of this blog series. Stay tuned.