Why Some People Gain Weight
After being diagnosed with celiac disease, I thought I was going to lose at least 10 pounds. In fact, one of my friends told me I was lucky to have celiac disease because now I would become skinny.
I was quite disappointed to learn that not only didnt I lose weight after going gluten free, but I actually started to gain weight instead.
Apparently Im not alone. Approximately 81 percent of individuals with celiac disease gain weight on the gluten-free diet.
This led me to ponder this question: Why do so many people with celiac disease gain weight?
Gaining weight is good for those individuals with celiac disease who struggle to keep on weight, particularly more serious cases when the patient has suffered from years of devastating celiac symptoms such as chronic diarrhea, failure to thrive, and nutrient-depravity. In these scenarios, weight gain is a welcome result of the gluten-free diet.
However, for the rest of us with celiac disease who came to the party at an average weight, gaining weight after restricting gluten from our diets is downright devastating.
We feel so deprived of the foods we once ate with gusto, yet as a cruel twist of fate, were also stuck packing on the extra poundage. Why is this happening?
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Eighteen months ago, Ahmed Yearwood decided to go gluten-free. A few years earlier, Id given up processed foods and felt great, the 41-year-old business owner recalls. I figured cutting out gluten would make me feel even better. Everyone told me Id have more energy and lose weight. He lasted less than a month. Everything was rice this and rice thatit was way too restrictive, he says. And I didnt feel any different healthwise than I did before. Yearwood reverted to his former eating habits. Some of the grains I eat have gluten, but I still feel amazing.
Just as fat was vilified in the 1990s and carbs have been scorned more recently, glutena protein found in wheat, barley, and ryehas become the latest dietary villain, blamed for everything from forgetfulness to joint pain to weight gain. Gluten free is a claim you see on everything from potato chips to bread to hummusand even on cosmetics and laundry detergent. Some people must avoid the protein because they have celiac diseasean autoimmune condition in which gluten causes potentially life-threatening intestinal damageor gluten sensitivity. But less than 7 percent of Americans have those conditions.
You’ll Consume A Lot More Arsenic
When manufacturers remove gluten-containing ingredients like wheat, they often replace them with a gluten-free grain like rice. The problem is that rice is a major source of inorganic arsenic, a mineral found in soil, fertilizer, and water that can raise the risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, and some types of cancer, the CDC reports. Spanish researchers found that following a gluten-free diet significantly increases the amount of arsenic that people consume. So, it’s best to mix up your diet and eat a variety of gluten-free whole grains.
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Which Health Issues Can A Gluten
Medically speaking, not all gluten-related issues are created equal. There can be confusion around two common gluten-related conditions in particular: celiac disease and nonceliac gluten sensitivity.
Lets take a look at the differences between the two, and how the gluten-free diet may benefit both, along with some other medical conditions.
People With Celiac Disease
A gluten-free diet is necessary for people with celiac disease, an autoimmune response to gluten that causes the body to attack the small intestine, causing belly pain, nausea, bloating or diarrhea. People with celiac disease cant tolerate gluten in any form, and need to follow a gluten-free diet for the rest of their lives. If you have celiac and accidentally eat gluten, youll probably experience the same symptoms you did before you went gluten-free.
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Can Gluten Intolerance Lead To Health Problems And Weight Gain
With all the news about gluten and gluten-free diets, you may be wondering can gluten intolerance lead to weight gain? In fact, if your body cant process gluten you can have many problems including weight gain. However, weight gain isnt as common as weight loss.
With gluten intolerance, your body has trouble absorbing the protein gluten thats found in wheat, barley, and rye. As you continue to eat these foods you may have a wide array of digestive problems weight gain being one of them.
Gluten intolerance can cause gas, cramping, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. The symptoms you experience will be individual. One of the best ways to discover whether or not youre tolerant to gluten is to eliminate gluten from your diet and see if symptoms subside.
Many people find that a gluten-free diet can promote weight loss and better digestive health. A lot of that is because foods that are high in gluten also tend to be high in refined sugars, fats, and artificial ingredients.
But if you continue to eat gluten and you have an intolerance, you could actually end up having problems with too much weight loss. This isnt the kind that helps you shape up for summer its the kind that sends you to the hospital and makes you very ill.
Gluten intolerance can exacerbate problems such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and other auto-immune disorders because it causes inflammation in your body. It can even cause a severe allergic reaction called celiac disease.
Over The Years Ive Found Great Gluten Free Foods And Eaten Many Which I Just Had To Spit Out
One day I found a bread and muffins that didnt taste like cardboard, but like what I used to eat. Peachy from Organic Oven and her delicious gluten, sugar and dairy free baked foods, was my saviour and I was in heaven.
Both my daughters have grown up, for the most, part gluten free, and havent seemed worse off because of it. Ive been asked on more than one occasion, that if I avoid giving them gluten , Wont they react more when they do eat it?
When they have pizza at school once a month, or head to a friends or birthday party, theyve told me about their bellyache afterwards. But, when asked Was the pizza was worth it, their reply is often yes, so now I leave them to make that choice.
As for when they are at home, they dont know the difference between wheat, rice, kamut or spelt bread unless I tell them whats coming.
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Youre Losing Inflammation Weight
Second, you might be losing what is known as inflammation weight.
Imagine that a harmful bacteria or virus has entered your body. Or think about a time when you injured your finger or knee. Think about how your bodys immune system floods the damaged area with blood, fluid and proteins. Your immune system automatically creates the swelling, redness and warmth needed to protect and repair the damaged tissue.
When you are constantly assaulting your gut with inflammatory foods, particularly ones that your body cannot properly digest , then you are creating a chronic state of inflammation inside your digestive system.
This can lead to things like fluid retention that makes you swell up and, you guessed it, gain or retain weight.
Dr. Mark Hyman says, If you dont address inflammation by eliminating hidden food allergens or sensitivities and by eating an anti-inflammatory diet, you will never succeed at effective and permanent weight loss. Hidden sensitivities and allergies to food you eat every day are making you sick and fat.
He adds that while everyone is different, there are specific foods known to create inflammation more than others and guess what? Gluten is at the top of the list!
If you have a hidden gluten sensitivity, and you stop eating gluten, the swelling and water retention will subside and you may just find yourself shedding pounds quickly as you shed that unwanted inflammation weight.
Is There Any Downside To Cutting Gluten
The answer is yes. “When you avoid an entire food group, you automatically run the risk of missing key nutrients,” Sheth said.
For instance, Doerfler noted that wheat is an excellent source of folic acid, magnesium, iron and fiber. Many wheat products are fortified with B vitamins and extra iron . However, gluten-free foods that contain refined rice or potato flours are often missing these essential nutrients, and without wheat, getting enough of these nutrients can prove challenging.
That’s why doctors and dietitians work closely with patients who are diagnosed with celiac disease and other gluten or wheat issues, in order to to ensure a well rounded diet and that nutrient deficiencies exist, Jossen said.
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Three Reasons To Go Gluten Free And Three Reasons Not To
Sitting on top of the hot list of todays diet fads is the gluten-free diet. People with certain medical conditions have very good reasons to avoid gluten, the gluey, chewy protein found in wheat, kamut, spelt, rye, barley, triticale and malt. But there are equally good reasons not to go gluten free if you dont have to. Here are the top three reasons on each side of the issue.
What Is Gluten Anyway
Gluten is not a protein itself but rather a protein composite composed of the proteins gliadin and glutenin found in wheat , secalin found in rye and hordein in barley , which are elastic proteins.
Gluten exists in the grass-like grains above and provides an elasticity and glue-like ability to hold its flour products together and gives a chewy texture to these grain products.
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How Can A Gluten
A person will lose weight if they take in less energy than they expend. So technically, it is possible for you to lose weight on a gluten-free diet. However, it is not recommended to follow a gluten-free diet for weight loss.
A gluten-free diet is primarily prescribed for the treatment of celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that attacks itself following the ingestion of wheat, rye, barley and sometimes oats. The nutritional challenges with a gluten-free diet include getting adequate amounts of fiber, calcium and several of the B vitamins. Gluten-free diets can be a bit higher in sugar than normal diets because sugar is often used to make gluten-free foods taste better.
Seek the guidance of a registered dietitian before going on any elimination diets. You can find a RD in your area by going to http://www.eatright.org and clicking Find a Registered Dietitian.
Should Your Family Go Gluten Free
Some of my friends think Im extreme when it comes to my diet. I can handle that. I cant recommend any type of diet to my clients until Ive tried it out for myself and see the results.
Wheat free, gluten free, sugar and dairy free, vegan, vegetarian, raw, high carbs, low or no carbsIve tried them all and know how easy or hard it is to follow.
Once I had children, I realized they had a negative reaction to what I ate, while breast-feeding, and that was a game changer for me.
Food sensitivity testing proved to me that my first baby was reacting to foods that I ate and after I avoided the foods that we both reacted to, her symptoms of gassiness, diarrhea, rashes and fussiness improved.
I avoided my favourite foods and swapped them for gluten free cardboard like bread, and lived on rice cakes and crackers. I followed a restricted diet, not to lose weight or to deprive myself, but so my daughter was more comfortable and symptom free.
Seven years ago when I first embarked on a new way of eating, there really wasnt the variety of alternatives that I see today. Theres gluten free alternatives to most foods, including the unhealthy ones.
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You Misattribute Your Weight Loss To Avoiding Gluten
Some who try a gluten-free diet may find out that they have a gluten intolerance or sensitivity, but others who try it may not have issues with gluten at all. And if you don’t have issues with gluten, but you still lose weight on the diet, you may be misled into thinking there is a connection between the two.
“Not everyone will lose weight simply by eliminating gluten,” Foroutan says. She explains that the weight-loss link can be attributed to inflammation in the digestive tract that gluten causes for some people. So, when some people cut out gluten, it reduces that inflammation and leads to weight loss.
All diets, including ones that restrict gluten, should be individualized. Besides celiac disease, there’s a wide spectrum of gluten sensitivity, and for anyone on a gluten-free diet, “you really need to dig in to see what they’re choosing instead.” There may be other factors in your switch to a gluten-free diet that are actually helping you lose weight rather than avoiding gluten. Seeing a registered dietitian may help elucidate these beneficial changes.
You Probably Won’t Lose Weight
Gluten-free doesn’t equal calorie-free. In fact, many gluten-free versions of foods contain more calories, fat, sugar, and sodium than their gluten-rich counterparts to make up for the change in taste and texture, Dr. Fasano says. Also, believing a gluten-free food is good for you may influence you to eat more of it. If you’re giving up gluten, focus on adding more fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and gluten-free whole grains to your diet instead of gluten-free versions of processed food products.
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Diagnosis: Not Putting The Cart Before The Horse
Serology studies are the first step in determining diagnosis, specifically the serum immunoglobulin A anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies. Patients should also be screened for total IgA because this affects the reliability of the TTG test . These are accurate and inexpensive tests however, it is very important to note that patients must be on a gluten-containing diet at the time of testing to avoid false negative results. This has become more of a problem in clinical practice because patients may present to their health care provider after several months or even years on the gluten-free diet. This can lead to a diagnostic conundrum for the provider and patient. To obtain accurate antibody results, patients must complete a gluten challenge, in which they consume a specified amount of gluten-containing foods for several weeks . For patients who have obtained symptom relief with the gluten-free diet, returning to a gluten-containing diet may be undesirable. This can leave such patients without a clear diagnosis.
Make Sure Youre Eating Zero Gluten
A lot of people say theyre eating mostly gluten free and cant resist just a little gluten here and there, or theyre eating foods with hidden gluten or foods that are highly cross contaminated with gluten.
The only way to truly see the benefits of a gluten-free diet is by eating zero gluten. None. Nadda. Zip. Zilch. No cheating, ever. You cant lose that inflammation weight if youre still sneaking gluten in your diet.
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A Short History Of Gluten Free Diets
Humans have been consuming foods containing gluten since before the start of civilization. Its theorized that the cultivation of wheat and barley directly led to the population growth that supported the creation of civilization.
Gluten free diets, on the other hand, are a relatively new invention, and they were created as a response to an incurable disease called celiac disease. Those affected by celiac disease have a severe gluten intolerance due to an auto-immune disorder.
Gluten free diets are also used by those with gluten intolerance, which is a condition not related to celiac disease where gluten cannot be digested properly.
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Check For Other Food Sensitivities
Remember how gluten can cause inflammation in your body? If youve ditched gluten and eat a healthy diet, yet you still struggle to lose or maintain a healthy weight, you might have an additional food sensitivity causing you to retain inflammation weight.
The best way to find out if you have a food sensitivity is to take a food sensitivity test. I have found this food sensitivity test to be helpful in providing insights on what foods might be behind ones chronic inflammation.