The last few years have seen an influx of people hopping on the gluten free diet bandwagon in hopes of shedding a few pounds. It’s not hard to see the appeal; celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Miley Cyrus attribute their svelte silhouettes to ditching gluten. The best-selling book Wheat Belly condemns wheat and gluten, providing convincing evidence to suggest this gluten stimulates your appetite and causes you to eat more. The book also suggests that gluten encourages the production of insulin, which results in unwanted fat-storage.
All this bashing has resulted in a bread ban in many households - and many people have lost weight because of it. But is the weight loss actually because of the absence of gluten?
The jury seems to be out. There’s another convincing argument that suggests people lose weight by not eating gluten simply because there is less they can eat. Gluten is in most processed foods, ranging from the usual suspects like cookies and cakes to less common culprits like soups and sauces - it’s even in chocolates like Smarties. In other words, a gluten free diet forces people to eat cleaner.
Unless you have celiac disease - an autoimmune disorder wherein the small intestine is actually damaged by gluten - there is no conclusive evidence to show a gluten free diet will really benefit you.
In fact, since the gluten free diet fad has become more popular, we’re seeing more and more processed gluten-free food creeping into the market, and this can have the same negative fat-storing effects as all processed food.
When in doubt about the best way to lose weight, it seems it’s best to go back to basics: Eat clean, sleep well and exercise.
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