Fact or Fiction? To lose weight, go gluten-free
Fiction! Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley and any processed foods containing these ingredients. Going ‘gluten-free’ is the latest diet craze, however, those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance have no choice and must follow a gluten-free diet for life. If eaten, they develop an immune reaction that creates inflammation and damages the intestine.
If you don’t suffer from celiac disease or gluten intolerance, simply eliminating gluten from your diet will not in itself help you lose weight. There are plenty of gluten-free, calorie-rich foods that can take their place (i.e. soda, butter, cream, gluten-free brownies, etc.) and actually cause you to gain weight if you overindulge.
Registered dietitian and celiac expert Shelley Case says “Studies have shown that people following a gluten-free diet, especially when relying heavily on commercially prepared gluten-free foods, can have diets low in iron, fiber, B vitamins, calcium, and vitamin D.”
The bottom line: Gluten-free diets aren’t a magic weight loss bullet and can be difficult to follow for the long haul (ever read a food label and not see ‘wheat’ as an ingredient?) When choosing foods with wheat, rye or barley look for those with the first ingredient listed as ‘whole’ followed by wheat, rye or barley. Remember to chose foods in their natural form when possible (i.e. whole barley) and be sure to keep your portions in check!
Wasa crackers are one of my favorite! With only two ingredients (whole grain rye flour and salt), they are the perfect accompaniment to soup, tuna salad or a fresh garden salad!