Are Gluten & Weight Loss Connected?
A gluten-free diet is a therapeutic diet that was originally created for individuals with celiac disease. Just like the keto diet that was created for individuals with epilepsy, it has been co-opted as a “weight-loss diet.”
It might be! A 2017 study using data from the National Health and Nutrition Survey (2009-2014) in the United States, found that individuals following a gluten-free diet tended to be women, have a lower BMI, smaller waist circumference and average weight loss of 1.33kg in a year.  This study did not have an experimental design was created by looking back on past data. Therefore, we can only make links and can’t say that a gluten-free diet caused the weight loss. Generally, individuals who choose to follow a gluten-free diet are more health-conscious, highly educated women who are more persistent in pursuing weight loss.
How To Lose Weight On A Gluten Free Diet?
In order to lose weight on a gluten-free diet, you need to nail the nutrition basics.
- You need to be in a calorie deficit (eating less calories than you’re burning).
- 1/2 plate of non-starchy veggies at lunch and dinner.
- Getting enough protein at breakfast, lunch and dinner and including high-protein snacks.
- Ensure you’re getting enough fibre. Since wholegrain breads and cereals are high in fibre but often contain gluten, it’s important to get fibre from other sources. Alternative grains includes quinoa sorghum, amaranth, millet, and teff. You can also get fibre from fruit, vegetables, legumes and beans.
One of the reasons why many people lose weight on a gluten-free diet is that they reduce their intake of highly processed carbohydrates including cakes, biscuits, chips and pastries.
Does Gluten-free Make You Gain Weight And Is Gluten-free More Fattening?
It is also possible to gain weight on the gluten-free diet if you are just searching for alternatives. Gluten-free breads, cakes and biscuits are generally higher in calories, higher in fat and lower in protein. The reason for this is that gluten is a protein that gives bread a spongy taste and pizza crusts a chewy taste. When manufacturers take this away, they need to replace with fats and oils to make it more palatable and enjoyable. Therefore, if your diet doesn’t change except for replacing gluten-free foods with a similarly processed version, you’ll likely gain weight on the gluten-free diet.
Healthy Gluten-free Products
- Mission Corn tortillas
- Brown Rice Tortillas (perfect when toasted and eaten with hummus)
- Homemade trail mix (popcorn, nuts and seeds). Steer clear of pretzels
- San Remo Pulse Pasta
- Chickpea Flour (so you can bake healthier versions of your favourite foods, with a little extra protein and gluten-free fibre!)
How Much Weight Can You Lose On A Gluten-free Diet?
If you follow a lower calorie diet that is high in protein, you can lose 0.5 – 1kg per week on the gluten-free diet.
Does A Gluten-free Diet Help Lose Belly Fat?
A gluten-free diet cannot help you target fat loss. Being in a calorie deficit can help reduce fat loss all over the body but you cannot target one spot.