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January 13, 2012
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As a former marketing manager, it always makes me laugh when I troll the supermarket shelves and see starbursts on packages promoting Fat Free Candy (when did it ever have fat in it? – it’s full of sugar not fat), Gluten Free cookies, Gluten free cereals etc. Marketing managers love to take advantage of the latest and greatest (or not so greatest) fads on the market…or basically anything that has had a bunch of publicity for being good for you. The previous fads have including those jumping on the HCG diets, or the Hollywood cookie diets, liquid diets, cabbage soup diets, MSG Free etc.
So let’s clear up a few myths and truths on the latest victim – “gluten”. We hear blanket statements like:
Gluten free diets are producing maximum weight loss results, Gluten free is the way to go for any person after fat loss results, Gluten free foods are wonder foods for both nutrition and weight loss. Being on a Gluten free diets has become the ‘coolest thing’ to do for weight loss.
First of all let’s address what gluten actually is. Gluten is often confused with wheat as a grain but it actually isn’t a grain it’s a protein found in wheat, including kamut, spelt, barely and rye. It is responsible for the elastic texture of dough and thus is in most breads, pastas, crackers and some cereals or packaged snacks. Basically anything with flour in it has gluten in it. Gluten is not found in buckwheat, corn, almond meal, rice flour or rice for that matter, millet, quinoa and some oats.
There are definitely some people that for allergic, intolerance or sensitivity reasons need to avoid eating gluten – these people are often referred to as having Celiac disease but it is still a small percentage of the population usually about 1-2%, although this number seems to be growing. My thoughts are that this is due to the over-processing and genetically modification of wheat, which has changed the number of chromosomes in it and thus increased the inability for humans to digest it…but that is a whole other topic that I won’t go into just yet.
Those that do have Celiac disease experience severe bloating, gas, fatigue, discomfort in the intestines and usually the inability to lose fat. Some people MAY be walking around with Celiac disease and not know it. If you do have it and take gluten out of your diet then the result will be that yes ta da you will lose weight!!
For other humans not having Celiac disease that cut out gluten all together I have a few other results regarding maximum weight loss that are possible. If you cut out gluten altogether then you are decreasing your carbohydrate intake. Typically we eat too many carbohydrates for what we really need. Carbohydrates are an energy source so they are needed but unfortunately western civilization has made it too easy to access foods and incorrect food pyramids have lead us to eat way too many carbohydrates for what we expend in the form of exercise and such. So my real answer is – of course you will lose weight if you change your diet to decrease the amount of carbohydrate BUT BUT BUT, the fat loss results will totally depend on exactly what you are replacing it with.
This is where the marketing experts kick in.
For instance if you are replacing your steel cut Irish oats with gluten free cereal you may or may not be doing a good thing for your waistline. This is where I say – it all depends on the bigger picture. Good grief here she goes again on a rant…..not so much a rant as a just be more aware kind of speech. That gluten free cereal that you are about to tuck into might also be filled with 18gms of sugar per serving, along with many chemicals and preservatives so it’s really worse for you. By the way, 18gms of sugar is equivalent to 4.5 teaspoons of sugar!!
If you are replacing your steel cut oats with a buckwheat no sugar added cereal then perhaps you may be doing yourself a favor. IF it contains less carbohydrate than the steel cut oats…however I truly doubt this too. There is also the nutritional content to consider not just the carbohydrate count.
I may be stating the obvious but if you are eating gluten free cookies they may be no better for your fat loss than eating regular cookies. Be aware that just because the label say gluten free it doesn’t mean you are being healthy by eating that product.
My first recommendation is to try going gluten free for two weeks especially if you think you have some sort of intolerance or sensitivity or allergy to gluten then you will most likely know within a few days if you are super sensitive to it. You will definitely reap the rewards in this regard.
My second recommendation is to go gluten free if you want to try it as a weight loss method but be careful of what you are substituting the gluten with. Try using quinoa or millet instead. Be creative with your recipes and use clean, real food. That is, food that has not been processed as many of the gluten free products are bad for you as they still contain all the nasty additives that you want to avoid. If this works for you as a fat loss diet then awesome! You should find that if you are eating real food like the above then you will be prone to losing fat. It may not necessarily be the absence of the gluten in so much as being the replacing the bad foods with good healthy, real, unprocessed foods. However you look at it eating real, clean, healthy foods over the man-made processed versions is definitely the key in maximum weight loss.
So you don’t have to necessarily go gluten free for maximum weight loss – you just have to eat real food the right way…just as I have always advocated. What I will advocate is sure try going gluten free for some products and if it has a positive effect on your weight loss then keep it up. Be wary of what are in gluten free products by reading the labels very carefully.
Moral of the story – Stick to real foods for real fat loss and you are always safe! By eating real foods that you were designed to eat you are guaranteed to achieve maximum weight loss – gluten or no gluten.
If you want a real food for real fat loss diet plan that shows you exactly what to eat and what brands to buy then get the Real Food for Real Fat Loss program.
Keeping it real.