Okay, time to talk about being gluten-free by choice. People commonly associate ‘gluten-free’ as being more healthful. In fact, it’s a popular fad diet that is presumed to aid in weight loss and improve performance. But, here’s a little secret…gluten-free does not mean healthy. It does not mean sugar-free or fat-free or additive-free or preservative-free. It simply means free from gluten and only gluten. Just because a cupcake or even a cookie is gluten-free, does not mean it doesn’t have calories. And those gluten free pretzels? They are probably loaded with additives and extra fat. Ever compare gluten free pizza crust to regular pizza crust? Often, the gluten free version contains twice the calories and fat grams.
To sum it up: gluten-free does NOT necessarily mean healthy.
Although, going gluten-free by choice may have its benefits. In fact, most people lose weight in the first couple weeks after adopting a gluten-free lifestyle. Unfortunately, most people struggle sticking to their gluten-free lifestyle long-term.
So why do people usually lose weight when they go gluten free?
- First, if they were eating a lot of processed food, junk food, fast food or restaurant food, so much of what they are eating gets eliminated that weight loss is almost a given.
- Second, research shows that by just paying attention to what you eat, which happens when you start scouring every label for even a trace of gluten, you start to make better choices and weight loss follows.
- Finally, if avoiding gluten means going low carb, the initial few weeks of weight loss are likely related to less water retention as carbs as are stored as glycogen which holds with it, water.
So, if you’ve been debating going gluten-free to lose weight or improve performance, simply eliminating gluten will NOT get you there. But eating REAL food, focused on quality and quantity will provide actual health BENEFITS. That said, if you’ve been experiencing a lot of GI issues, talk to your doctor and see if a gluten-free diet might help you.
Power & Grace Nutrition