Is Gluten Free a Hot New Trend or Here to Stay?
I’ve worked with thousands of people over my decade or so in the health industry and I don’t think I’ve ever stopped being amazed at the dramatic effect going gluten free can have on someone’s waistline and overall health.
Even if you aren’t gluten sensitive, allergic, intolerant, a celiac or even believe in all the gluten hype almost everyone can benefit from going gluten free or low gluten. Why? Well my reasoning might be different than what you are used to hearing…
Recently I was involved in a conversation with a couple of trainers who were talking about gluten. Their take on the whole gluten issue was that it was crazy and blown way out of proportion. Their reasoning was that such a small percentage of people are actually allergic to gluten and so therefore gluten is totally safe and should not be limited.
This is one take on the gluten issue…and one I hear often.
The other side of the story is that gluten is an inflammatory protein in certain grains that is wreaking havoc on our digestive systems and in return causing many health issues. The latest research shows the grains we eat today have been enhanced so much that they not only contain more gluten than the grains we grew up on but they have a stronger, more damaging type of gluten in them than ever before.
For the most part these are the two opinions you’ll hear the most. One is that gluten is totally safe and there is no need to limit eating any form of it, as barely anyone is actually allergic to it. Or you’ll hear that it’s extremely hazardous to our health and we should rarely if ever eat it.
The reality is that when you’ve worked with many people on their health you start to realize that things really aren’t that Black and White. There are many shades of grey when it comes to nutrition and the human body.
While only small amounts of people are actually diagnosed as celiac’s there are lots of people who are not full blown allergic to gluten but “sensitive” to it. Meaning when they consume gluten they tend to feel sluggish, bloated, foggy and don’t recover from their workouts as quickly. Then you have a large amount of people who are not actually sensitive to gluten at all but are highly allergic to wheat in general. I’ve worked with hundreds of people who when they removed grains from their diets their skin conditions cleared up, joint pain (arthritis etc.) all but disappeared and their energy increased. Those are some pretty big health reasons to possibly reduce or eliminate gluten-containing foods.
Even if you don’t believe anything I just said about gluten and its inflammatory response, there is another big reason to reduce or eliminate gluten from your diet. Fat loss!
As soon as you remove gluten from your diet you’ve also completely removed most breads, cookies, pastas, cereals and almost all processed food. Gluten is really only evident in grains and grains are one of the most processed foods on the planet.
Removing processed foods from your diet is one of the fastest and healthiest ways of losing weight!
There are two ways most people have trouble losing weight or are steadily gaining weight. They are regularly consuming processed foods and second they are consuming too much food in general. Processed foods not only lack much in the way of nutritional value (so it’s easy to overeat them), they also turn into sugar quickly in your system, in return they crank the fat storage hormone Insulin. Combine this with eating too much processed food and you have an excellent environment for weight/fat gain.
If you are currently someone who lives off cereals, breads, crackers and pastas, going gluten free would be a huge change for you. You will now have no choice but to choose whole, unprocessed foods and your body will love you for it.
My take on going gluten free is that everyone should try it at least once. You’ll never know if you are sensitive to gluten or if eating gluten type foods is what’s keeping you from seeing progress with your goals unless you give going gluten free a solid try. So while you might be one of the lucky ones who have no allergic issues with gluten you cannot escape the fact that gluten comes in the form of processed foods…and it’s extremely tough to lose weight/fat eating processed foods.
I get all my clients to go on a 21-day gluten free plan to help them kick-start their weight loss and test their sensitivity along the way. The key is to make sure you have enough easy to make gluten free recipes to support your 21 days or it’s easy to fall back to eating gluten type foods.