Thursday, November 11, 2010

Gluten-Free for Weight Loss?

Many people think going gluten-free is a great way to diet in order to lose weight. Not surprisingly, it can be a pleasant side effect if you are overweight and diagnosed with celiac disease. It makes complete sense that if you simply ELIMINATE breads, cakes, pastries, pastas, cookies and breaded or coated foods (think chicken nuggets, french fries, meatballs) your calories will shrink dramatically!

I would likely approve any diet that reduces processed foods and complex carbohydrates, but I am MORE excited about diets that not only decrease those items, but INCREASE fruits and vegetables. Here is the trick with not only a gluten-free diet, but a vegan or vegetarian diet. Keep it HEALTHY by upping the produce (veggies and fruit) and NOT merely replacing everything you are "giving up" with a manufactured version that is GF (or CF, or Veggie-free).

For example, there are many gluten-free breads, crackers, cookies and treats out there. Very few of them happen to be low calorie and/or "good" for you- BUT- saying gluten-free somehow implies healthy and nutritious, doesn't it? It's that health-food store seal of approval when we see labels proclaiming a food item is "free" of something "BAD".

Ultimately, however, in the battle of the bulge, it still comes down to calories IN vs. calories OUT, regardless of the quality of those calories. So, enjoy those GF pancakes and breads in moderation, but don't pursue the search for the GF Twinkie, okay? Push up the produce and reap the rewards.

BOTTOM LINE: Eating gluten-free CAN be an incredibly healthy diet, rich in nutrients from fresh vegetables and fruit plus a protein source and GF carbs in moderation, but gluten-free does NOT equal low calorie!

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