Gluten free diet for weight loss – can gluten free help?
Hi everyone, I’m here to discuss The Gluten Free Diet, its benefits and if it does help you lose weight and maintain a healthy weight. Also, is gluten really that bad? Gluten is a collective term for proteins found in grains such as wheat, rye, and triticale ( a cross between wheat and rye). It’s what it gives dough it’s stickiness and stretch, and makes sourdough deliciously elastic. Most people go to a gluten free diet because of a disease, allergy, sensitivity, and gluten ataxia. Other benefits of a gluten free diet include, improved health, and increased energy. Also, can a gluten free diet help for weight loss?
What is a Gluten Free Diet
A gluten-free diet is a diet that excludes the protein gluten. Gluten is found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye, and a cross between wheat and rye called triticale. A gluten-free diet is essential for managing signs and symptoms of Celiac disease and other medical conditions associated with gluten.
Removing gluten from your diet likely changes your overall intake of fiber, vitamins and other nutrients. Therefore, regardless of your reasons for following a gluten-free diet, it’s important to know how it can affect your overall nutritional needs. A doctor or dietitian can help you make appropriate dietary choices to maintain a well-balanced diet.
The gluten-free diet is essential for managing the signs and symptoms of medical conditions:
- Celiac Disease: Is a condition in which gluten triggers immune system activity that damages the lining of the small intestine. Over time this damage prevents the absorption of the nutrients from food. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder.
- Non-celiac gluten sensitivity: Causes some signs and symptoms associated with celiac disease – including abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, foggy brain, rash or headache – even though there is no damage to the tissues of the small intestine.
- Gluten Ataxia: An autoimmune disorder, affects certain nerve tissues and causes problems with muscle control and voluntary muscle movement.
- Wheat Allergy: Like other food allergies, is the result of the immune system mistaking gluten or some other protein found in wheat as a disease-causing agent, such as virus or bacteria. The immune system creates an antibody to the protein, prompting an immune system response that may result in congestion, breathing difficulties and other symptoms.
Gluten free: A favourite claim in the food packaging world. Gluten free bread, gluten free cookies, gluten free pasta, gluten free water, gluten free gluten. The whole world’s gone gaga for gluten free. It seems every man and his dog are preaching the benefits of gluten free diets.
People foolishly think that going gluten free means weight loss. There are many gluten-free diets on the market, many of them are also packed with sugar, which can cause you to gain weight, and are low in fiber, nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Instead, stick to fruits and vegetables, gluten-free whole grains, legumes, lean protein, nuts and seeds, low-fat dairy, and healthy fats.
4 Reasons people lose weight when they go gluten free:
- A gluten free diet is daunting and restrictive
- Many high calorie ‘junk’ foods can no longer be eaten
- Many staple foods like bread, cereal and pasta can no longer be eaten either
- Fresh, low calorie foods like fruits and vegetables (naturally gluten free) are cheap and easy options.
Cutting out the hamburgers, pies, Corn Flakes, cakes and cookies, coupled with eating more fruit and vegetables… sounds like a solid recipe for weight loss.
What can I eat?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Some people who choose to eat gluten-free often avoid eating overly processed breads, pasta, and other baked goods. This can lead to weight loss and overall health improvements, as people avoid highly processed, unhealthful foods.
A person should focus their gluten-free diet much like any other diet so that includes:
- Lean proteins
- Whole grains, such as brown rice and quinoa
- Beans, peas, and lentils
- healthful fats
Some gluten-free foods that fit into many diets include:
- Any whole, fresh vegetables
- Any whole, fresh fruit
- Lean proteins, such as beans and eggs
- Gluten-free baked goods, including pancakes, waffles, and bread.
Vegetarian diets focus on replacing meat with plant-based proteins. Often vegetarian diets may include either egg, dairy, or both. Both are excellent protein choices. For those who wish to avoid animal products, there are several nutrient-rich foods they can eat that do not contain gluten including:
Chickpeas are a nutrient-rich food. 4 tablespoons of traditional hummus each day provides about 25 grams of fiber and about 14 grams of plant protein per week.
People often call sweet potatoes a superfood. A superfood provides a high proportion of nutrients for the number of calories they contain. Sweet potatoes include a good amount of:
- Dietary fiber, if eating the skin
Whole oats offer a variety of nutrients and potential health benefits. People can eat them as a cereal, use them as flour in baking recipes, or even as skin ointments. Doctors consider oats safe for people with Celiac disease if the oats have a certification that they are gluten-free. As a result, there is an increasing number of baked goods that contain only oat flour.
Potential benefits of oats include:
- Moderate to high amounts of dietary fiber
- Potential anti cancerous properties
- Reduces blood cholesterol
- High-protein value important for vegetarians
Foods to avoid
Major foods that contain gluten include:
- White or whole wheat bread
- White or whole wheat pastas
- Muffins, doughnuts, and other pastries
- Breaded meats, such as chicken wings or cutlets
- Many cereals
There are other foods containing gluten that are not as obvious. Some foods to avoid that may contain gluten include:
- Potato chips
- French fries
- Sauces and gravies
- Some candies
- Soy sauce
- Meat substitutes
- Lunch meats
- Soup, particularly cream based ones
- Preseasoned meats
- Scrambled eggs at restaurants where pancake batter may be an additional ingredient
Gluten free recipes
If you’re trying to eliminate gluten from your diet, breakfast can be one of the most challenging meals to navigate. Here’s one recipe you can try:
Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes (makes about 5 pancakes)
- 1 cup oat flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup milk ( I used coconut milk)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Optional add-ins: whole oats, chocolate chips, raisins, dried cranberries, nuts, etc.
Stir together the oat flour, cinnamon, sugar, baking powder, corn starch and salt. Beat the egg with the oil, milk, and vanilla and then add to the dry ingredients, mixing well. Stir in any add-ins. Lightly grease a skillet and wipe off extra grease with the paper towel (you shouldn’t have to grease between pancakes either. This helps them to brown more evenly and beautifully. Heat the skillet on about medium heat. Fry pancakes until the bubbles pop on the top and then flip and cook until done.
Skinny chicken Caesar salad
Makeover the typically heavy Caesar dressing by swapping mayonnaise for Greek yogurt – low in fat and calories
- 4 Skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tsp olive oil
- Juice 1 lemon
- 1 large Romaine or Cos lettuce, chopped into large pieces
- 1 Punnet salad cress
- 4 Hard boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
- 25g Parmesan, finally grated
- 50g anchovy fillets, half chopped, half left whole
- 170g pot fat-free Greek yogurt.
- Put the chicken breasts in a large bowl with the olive oil and 1 tbsp lemon juice, then season. Heat the grill to high. Put the chicken breasts on a foil-lined tray and cook under the grill for 10-12 minutes until golden and cooked through, turning once during cooking. Transfer to a plate or board and slice.
- Arrange the lettuce, cress and eggs on a platter or serving plates and top with the cooked chicken. Mix together the Parmesan, chopped anchovies, yogurt and remaining lemon juice, season to taste and poor over the salad. Arrange the whole anchovy fillets on top of each salad.
Roasted squash with sour cherries, spiced seeds & feta
Serve this squash or pumpkin dish as a smart vegetarian main or dinner party side, packed with contrasting flavours such as sweet honey, sour cherries and salty crumbled cheese (serves 4)
- 1 large or 2 small squash or pumpkins, seeds scooped out and reserved, then out into chunks or wedges (leave the skin on if it’s not too tough)
- 2 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
- 100ml red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp clear honey
- 100g dried sour cherries
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- Bunch mint, leaves picked
- 100g feta, crumbled
For the spiced seeds
- 100g pumpkin seeds (if you don’t have enough from your pumpkin, add seeds from a packet)
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- 2 tbsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp coriander
- Good pinch of ground allspice
- 2 tsp olive or rapeseed oil
- Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and line a large baking tray with baking parchment. Arrange the squash or pumpkin wedges on the tray and drizzle with oil. Season well, put in the oven and roast for 35-45 mins or until tender (different varieties will take varying amounts of time, so check by pressing the flesh with a knife – it should be very tender when cooked).
- Meanwhile, prepare the spiced seeds, Wash and dry the seeds from your squash, removing any stringy bits. Mix the seeds, spices and oil on another baking tray lined with baking parchment, season well and toss together. Put on the shelf below the squash and roast together for the final 10 mins, stirring now and then, until toasted.
- Put the vinegar, honey and cherries in a small pan. Simmer gently for 2-3 mins until the cherries are plump and the dressing has reduced by half. Stir in a pinch of salt and the sesame oil, remove from the heat and leave to cool for 10 mins.
- To serve, arrange a layer of warm wedges on a platter. Drizzle over the syrupy dressing and cherries, the seeds and mint leaves. Finally, scatter with feta.
The gluten-free diet is a diet primarily used for people with Celiac Disease, Non-Celiac gluten sensitivity, Gluten Ataxia or people with a Wheat Allergy. The gluten-free diet serves a purpose and it’s essential for managing the signs and symptoms of medical conditions. However, a gluten-free diet may help you with weight loss as you will avoid many high calorie junk foods, bread, cereal and pasta, while also cutting out hamburgers, pies, cakes and pastries. There are many gluten-free diets on the market many of them are also packed with sugar which can lead to weight gain. If you do follow a healthy gluten-free diet with fresh fruit and vegetables, gluten-free whole grains, legumes, lean protein, nuts and seeds, low fat dairy and healthy fats, then you will lose weight while enjoying a healthy gluten-free diet. There are many health benefits associated with the gluten-free diet and I do recommend the gluten-free diet as a healthy and nutritious diet.
If you have any comments in regard to the Gluten free diet I would love to hear from you. Thank you.
Shawn founder of Weight Loss Pro