Gluten free foods and ingredients are popping up in store shelves, menus and in recipes… We often tend to file them under the “healthy” category and we try to omit gluten from our diet in order to maintain a slim body. But does it make sense?
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein that can be found in many products. Everything that contains wheat, rye or barley and spelt does have gluten in it. That means that gluten is present in bread, rolls, cakes, pasta, dumplings and others. Gluten is very often hiding in other ingredients that you would never guess: for example some store-bought dips, sausages (why not add flour to meat and end up with a better price?) or sweets. Gluten is an important ingredient in baking as it gives the dough its elasticity.
why not add flour to meat and end up with a better price?
It is becoming more common for people to experience certain level of gluten intolerance or even coeliac disease – autoimmune disease that damages their intestines when they consume gluten in any form. I have plenty of experience with this as my mom is suffering from coeliac disease and during puberty, I have developed an allergy to gluten, which disappeared after a while (at least in its original state but that does not mean that gluten abundance would make me feel good). That is the reason why all my recipes are naturally gluten free, nice bonus for you!
Gluten free = great diet?
Many people assume that gluten free equals healthy and that eliminating gluten from a diet automatically leads to weight loss. Actually, if you consume gluten and you are allergic to it, you will lose weight. That is because your body is unable to process it and instead of storing it inside the body, it all goes out, resulting in weight loss. But once you eliminate gluten from your diet, you might gain a few kilos back. That actually happened in my case.
And what happens, when you have no problem with digesting gluten and you still eliminate it from your diet? It depends on what you substitute it with. If you start buying things labeled as “gluten free” you might do yourself more harm than good. Gluten free pasta and bread and pastry are usually made from flours (such as corn flour) that has much higher glycemic index than regular flour and we already know that higher glycemic index in food is linked to weight gain. Next up is the fact that a lot of the products with gluten free label have to substitute the gluten with something else – often low quality fats and carbohydrates. Consuming gluten free foods is therefore not healthy at all, it is the exact opposite!
The other option is to substitute bread and pastry, pasta and other gluten containing products with things that are naturally gluten free. You will not buy prepared meals, gluten free bread and pasta but you can substitute these with ingredients that are gluten free in their natural state and are not processed – rice, buckwheat, quality meat, eggs, nuts, seeds, simply foods that do not need gluten at all. Together with exercise, this change in lifestyle will lead to the desired weight loss. It is actually the corner stone of a healthy diet.
So next time you come across someone saying that gluten is the key to weight loss, don’t listen to them, it is not true. Weight loss can be achieved by diet rich in healthy fats, protein and carbs.
Gluten has absolutely nothing to do with it
What is your experience with gluten? Let me know in the comments below, I am looking forward to reading them!