Not long ago, following a gluten-free meal plan was only recommended for those with Celiac Disease, an inherited autoimmune disorder that can cause damage of the lining of the small intestine. According to the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, only about 1% of Americans have Celiac Disease. So why has the “gluten-free” weight loss trend become a $6 billion industry, and how can it help you?
What is Gluten?
Gluten is the gummy, glue-like protein found in the grains wheat, barley, and rye. Most obviously, it is in breads, pastas, pastries, and cereals. It is also used to add flavor, texture, or a “binding” effect in thousands of products from beverages and sauces, to hot dogs and medications. In some people, the immune system sees gluten as the enemy and will unleash weapons to attack it, causing inflammation in the intestines as well as in other organs and tissues. This can lead to diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, and a host of related health issues.
Gluten-Free and Grain-Free
While some choose a gluten-free diet out of medical necessity, excitement about the benefits of a grain-free lifestyle have given way to it becoming a weight loss phenomenom. Cardiologist Dr. William Davis, author of Wheat Belly, believes that eating grains, especially wheat, stimulates your body to produce very high levels of insulin, the hormone that moves sugar from your bloodstream into your body's cells. High insulin levels cause your body to accumulate fat around your abdomen and leads to feelings of low blood sugar, making you hungry again. This cycle can definitely make losing weight more difficult. Because so many processed products are made with gluten-containing grains, Dr. Davis suggests that a plan to avoid them will naturally calm this cycle and result in far fewer calories consumed.
The Insight on Inflammation
It may not only be your waistline that benefits from a more gluten-free diet. According to Dr. Rochelle Rosian, MD, a rheumatologist at Cleveland Clinic, people with gluten sensitivity do experience Celiac symptoms, especially outside the gut. Related inflammation is especially likely to affect the joints, causing pain, sensitivity and irritation all over the body. She adds that many of her RA patients notice less joint pain when they don't eat it. "Patients with arthritis are always looking for nondrug ways to manage inflammation," she says. "We know that certain foods are pro-inflammatory and that includes gluten-containing grains. When some, but not all, people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity eliminate these from their diet, they find their arthritis improves."
Do you need a Proven Approach to Weight Loss?
At Envista Medical, we believe in helping you develop healthy habits, including proper, balanced nutrition and exercise for reaching your weight loss goals. With a physician-directed weight management program based on scientific principles, you’ll receive the support, encouragement, and tools you need for losing weight and the education to keep it off! Contact us today for your complimentary consultation.