The Truth About Gluten and Weight Loss

For decades, doctors told their patients “gluten sensitivity” was a myth. Either you had full–blown Celiac disease, or gluten wasn’t an issue.

Recently, though, researchers proved this long-held belief was wrong. Lots of people without Celiac disease are sensitive to gluten. And it can cause a lot of digestive discomfort.

Even more, gluten is found in high-carb foods – like wheat and barley. What would happen if you cut gluten out of your diet? Even if you only cut down a limited amount. Years of research shows there’s a measurable effect.

And it’s all good.

Less Gluten Equals Less Discomfort

Scientists at the University of Copenhagen looked at the effect gluten can have on people without Celiac disease. (Celiac is a life-threatening condition where gluten slowly destroys your ability to absorb nutrients.)

The doctors found a low-gluten diet, rich in fiber, encouraged growth of helpful bacteria in the gut. Part of the equation was that high-gluten carbs deliver a different type of fiber than non-gluten foods.

The fiber found in vegetables, oats, and other gluten-free foods appears to promote a healthier “biome” than the fiber found in gluten-rich foods like wheat and rye. And these healthier fibers can ease gas and bloating… and even boost weight loss.

Part of the trick seems to be to avoid most “gluten-free” alternatives. At least, those the food industry champions.

Many advertised gluten-free foods are very low in fiber. So they don’t promote overall health as well as natural alternatives. For example, you could use lettuce leaves in place of gluten-free bread to boost your intake of natural fiber. Lettuce wraps are tasty, high in healthy fiber, and low in calories.

But that’s just for starters. Because avoiding gluten may be an easy way to lose weight and boost your overall health.

Wheat Is Not Your Friend

Wheat is the main source of gluten in the average diet. Although, to be honest, the food industry adds gluten to many foods. Gluten is an effective binder – and helps products such as breads rise.

It’s mainly found in grains – most famously in wheat. So foods high in gluten are often linked to high blood sugar. Because high-carb foods like wheat cause spikes in blood sugar when you eat them.

These blood sugar spikes lead to insulin resistance… and eventually to diabetes. That’s why foods high in gluten – like wheat – are not your friends.

Way back in 2003, doctors at the University of Illinois found a low-carb diet improved body composition. Eating the low carb way also improved cholesterol levels.

Women who ate a higher protein diet felt more satisfied after meals. And they lost more fat compared to the high-carb/low-fat group.

A 2008 study compared a low-fat diet to a Mediterranean-style diet, and a low-carb diet. The traditional low-fat diet performed the worst, with the low-carb subjects losing the most weight and showing the most favorable changes in cholesterol levels.

And in a small 2001 study, swapping protein for carbs led women to burn twice as much fat after eating. And this higher burn rate lasted at least 2.5 hours!

What About Fat?

Fat appears to be the wild card in weight loss. Some diets – like Atkins-style diets – allow high levels of fat. But the high levels of fat may lead to kidney problems. (And more.)

On the other hand, studies show diets high in protein, but low in fats, may offer significant advantages.

Doctors at Arizona State University tested a high protein, low fat diet to a typical high-carb diet. The results were clear. While both diets delivered similar weight loss, the high-protein diet left volunteers feeling more satisfied.

In fact, 20% of the high-carb group dropped out due to extreme hunger. None of the high-protein group did.

While many of these studies have little to do directly with gluten, we can see a pattern emerging. Foods high in gluten – mostly grains – aren’t very helpful when it comes to weight loss.

Instead, an extra serving of protein can help you feel fuller… and promote a healthier body composition.

Meanwhile the fiber found in veggies may improve the mix of bacteria in your gut. And lead to less intestinal discomfort and greater weight loss.

So forget the pasta. Have a salad topped with salmon instead. Chances are you’ll look – and feel – a lot better.

About the Author: Jason Kennedy is a celebrated investigative health writer and the author of The X-Factor Revolution and Beyond the Blue Zone. With over 10 years of experience working with today’s leading alternative and anti-aging doctors, Jason shares his insider status and access to the latest breakthroughs with thousands of readers from around world.

“Should you eat a low-gluten diet?” Nov 15, 2018.

Layman, D.K., et al, “A reduced ratio of dietary carbohydrate to protein improves body composition and blood lipid profiles during weight loss in adult women,” J Nutr. Feb 2003; 133(2): 411-417.

Shai, I., et al, “Weight Loss with a Low-Carbohydrate, Mediterranean, or Low-Fat Diet,”  N Engl J Med 2008; 359: 229-241.

Johnston, C.S., “Postprandial Thermogenesis Is Increased 100% on a High-Protein, Low-Fat Diet versus a High-Carbohydrate, Low-Fat Diet in Healthy, Young Women,” Jrnl Am Col Nutr. 2002; 21(1).

Johnston, C.S., et al, “High-protein, low-fat diets are effective for weight loss and favorably alter biomarkers in healthy adults,” J Nutr. Mar 2004; 134(3): 586-591.

© Copyright 2018 Discovery Health Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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