Ask Alfonso: Should I Go Gluten Free?
I’m a huge bread lover. I grew up in a traditional Italian house and breads are always part of our meals.
I’ve been reading a lot about gluten free diets and how much weight people lose on them. And I had a friend try it and she lost a lot of weight. She told me many people are allergic to breads and don’t know it, and that when we stop eating gluten we lose weight.
I’ve tried to research this myself but everyone has a different opinion, so I thought I’d ask the Angry Trainer! What do you think? Should I give up bread? Honestly I don’t know if I even could!
Great question and I know just what you mean. I too grew up eating tons of pasta and breads at dinner. Man, that was good stuff.
The ‘Gluten Free’ diet has become increasingly popular in recent years. It’s important to note that gluten is not just in bread products, so giving it up is a bit trickier than most people think. Due to gluten’s structure it’s also used in sauces, baking, fake meats and other foods to provide texture and almost act like glue – helping to hold food together. What is it? Without getting too complicated, gluten is best described as a protein found in wheat, wheat products, rye and even oats.
Your friend’s assertion that people are allergic to breads is based on Celiac disease, which is when the lining of the intestines becomes damaged from a reaction to gluten ingestion. Basically, the damage that occurs prevents nutrient uptake and proper food digestion. Symptoms can include loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain and unexplained weight loss. Truthfully from what I can find, it seems as though the number of people with this problem, or those who suffer from gluten sensitivity, is actually quite low. But I have to tell you it’s a heated debate, with many saying that gluten isn’t healthy or good for anyone.
So how do we explain people who lose weight when they adopt gluten free eating? Surely it must be true that it’s not healthy right? Well health implications aside, you WILL lose weight if you eat truly gluten free – but not because you’ve eliminated gluten. It’ll be because you’ve removed many high carbohydrate, high sugar foods from your diet. Think about it – most people would drop weight if they eliminated bagels, all breads, cookies, donuts, cake, all flour products and other similar foods. I mean that’s whole lot of calories and foods to exclude. So you end up eating what amounts to a mostly Paleo type diet, with minimal processed foods and mostly whole foods.
This also explains why many will feel like they have more stable energy levels when giving up gluten. Without the inclusion of many flour products in your diet, you’ll avoid the highs and lows of spiking and crashing insulin levels that usually accompanies refined, high carbohydrate diets. Makes sense right? So it’s not that gluten was robbing you of energy, or that you’re allergic, but once again the nutrient makeup of many foods that contain gluten. Get it? So in my opinion people are losing weight and becoming healthier due to eliminating gluten, but mainly because their diet is just better overall. I’ve never really been a fan of breads anyway. They’re high in calories, very refined and provide minimal nutrition. So I always recommend people limit how much bread they eat.
Obviously there are many gluten free products on the market now, including breads, pastas and even desserts, but not nearly as many as traditional gluten containing products. And although they’re harder to find, it’s rare to see me eating anything with gluten in it. And when I do eat wraps, breads, or desserts, I do look for the gluten free options. In doing so, I’ve significantly reduced the amount of bread products in my own diet. But it’s important to remember that gluten free doesn’t mean calorie free. There are plenty of people who eat foods with gluten and have no issues. They’re normal weight, fit and healthy. Of course, some really do suffer from a reaction to gluten. But either way, I think it’s a smart choice to limit all gluten products, as they just don’t provide much nutrition for our bodies. So Veronica, I think eating a chunk of bread with butter is just fine at Sunday dinner, but eating 5 slices and having it every day of the week is perhaps a bit much.
Hope that helps! And if you have a question – please just click here. I’d love to give you an answer!
All information contained within this site, Angry Trainer Fitness.com, is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any health problem – nor is it intended to replace the advice of a physician. No action should be taken solely on the contents of this website. Always consult your physician or qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health or on any opinions expressed within this website. Please see your physician before changing your diet, starting an exercise program, or taking any supplements of any kind.
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