Going Gaga for Gluten-Free

Some of the most curious fad diets include those that originated from genuine food allergies, and going gluten-free is no exception.  Gluten is a protein found in the grains of wheat, rye and barley.  It is naturally occurring in foods and is a popular additive in food today.  While many people have suffered allergies for years, the last decade has seen an influx of gluten and wheat related information in popular culture.  Medical professionals believe the number of affected people is on the rise, yet individuals avoiding gluten far outweigh the diagnoses of those living with celiac disease or non-celiac related gluten sensitivity.  (For more information on these conditions visit ).

It’s difficult to pinpoint the evolution of this health-necessary lifestyle change to something mainstream.  “…With this popularity push, people have latched on to avoiding gluten as a cure-all for many conditions aside from celiac; including migraines, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome” ().  This has also developed into a common prescription from dieticians in an effort to help people increase their energy and minimize belly bloat.  But will eliminating gluten from your diet help you lose weight?

There is no scientific data proving that a gluten-free lifestyle will promote weight loss; however, many people who make the transition discover smaller numbers on the scale.  So how is this possible?  The factors that are actually causing weight loss are surprising.  Eliminating gluten consumption means:

  1. Less carbs are being consumed (particularly breads, pastas and desserts)
  2. Limited amounts of “safe” food options
  3. Changes to restaurant dining (many sauces, salad dressings, spices and meat dressing contain gluten)
  4. Consumption of simple carbs (rice, quinoa, certified oats, etc.)

Clearly there’s much more than meets the eye with gluten.  Sans allergy, a gluten-free diet isn’t harmful and may be one of the healthier fad diets on the market.  Yet people interested in using this as a vehicle for weight loss should be cognizant of the countless packaged products and restaurant menu options touting an absence of wheat.  Not all options are healthy (gluten-free cookies are still fattening and laden with sugar, after all) and ideal for every person.