As we touched on yesterday, there is heavy marketing in the gluten-free product area, but why are we suddenly inundated with this rapid uptick in the health food industry? My assumption is that this trend is like any other product: if people see it enough times, they buy in.
For those suffering from Celiac Disease, gluten in the smallest amount of 50 milligrams can trigger an autoimmune response that is debilitating. Individuals following a gluten-free diet means more than giving up things that we consider carbs such as pasta, pizza, beer, cereal, and traditional breads. It also means slashing a variety of frozen veggies in sauces, soy sauce, and some vitamins/mineral supplements. If you do not have Celiac Disease and have opted to avoid gluten because it has helped you lose weight or feel less bloated, keep in mind that you are likely losing an easy source of B Vitamins. Often, our breads and cereals are fortified with folic acid as well as easy sources of dietary fiber. If this is the case, it’s important to supplement your diet to ensure that you meet the recommend amount of both.
Yes, you’ll probably see initial weight loss by avoiding products with gluten, but it’s more likely that you’re seeing the weight loss because you’re cutting back on calorie heavy foods – nothing to do with the gluten. You’re going to lose weight if you’re not drinking beer. You’re going to lose weight if you’re not eating a full pizza. Gluten doesn’t pile on sloppy weight in the way that advertising leads us to believe; quite the opposite actually. Read the ingredients list the next time you pick up a gluten-free product. Typically, they are heavy in sugar and fat which can lead to weight gain over time, and unless they’re fortified with fiber, you may experience digestive issues — two things that you were likely trying to avoid by starting the diet.
Just as with any nutrition profile you choose to follow, listen to your body. If you find that avoiding certain foods makes you feel better, figure out what about that food is making you feel better or worse. Do your research and pick what makes sense for your lifestyle to make this a sustainable way of eating for the long run. Your heart is the greatest healer of your life. And your soul is the heart of your life. Let’s start living, folks. Today starts now. Until we meet again, this is Dr. Higgins saying, good bye.