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Gluten Free and Gaining Weight?

Gluten Free and Gaining Weight?

If you have recently found yourself eliminating gluten and gaining weight, you are in good company. According to research by Daniel Leffler, an international authority on celiac disease and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical school, the closer people adhere to a gluten-free diet, the more likely they are to gain weight.  This can put a great deal of stress on a newly diagnosed celiac or gluten-sensitive individual.

There are a number of reasons for potential weight gain.  Enhanced absorption of nutrients is a key contributor.  While many of these individuals may have experienced diarrhea, decreased intake, and poor absorption in the past, they may be eating more and starting to feel better.

There is also an abundance of prepackaged, processed gluten-free foods on the market that may be contributing to weight gain.  These products may appear to be a healthier choice and a good weight loss option when in fact this isn’t always the case.

According to Rachel Begun, Registered Dietitian, and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “Many gluten-free products are high in calories, fat, and sugar, while also being low in nutrients.  When people go gluten-free and eat too much of these highly processed, low-nutrient foods they’re likely to gain weight.  There’s also a ‘health halo’ surrounding gluten-free right now.  It’s important that consumers understand that just because something is gluten-free doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthful or is a good option for weight loss.”

For those who are newly diagnosed, consuming a diet filled with processed gluten-free foods is not always a healthy way to heal the body and achieve a healthy weight.  Nutritional deficiencies are common in those with celiac and gluten sensitivities therefore meeting dietary needs with the help of a professional is recommended.

Whole, nutrient rich foods are always recommended over processed varieties.  Consuming: fruits, vegetables, nut butters, yogurts, low fat cheeses, and legumes is encouraged in order to meet fiber and vitamin/mineral requirements.

Participating in regular physical activity and practicing mindful eating is also helpful to ward off potential weight gain.  Watch portion sizes, sitting at a table as opposed to a tv, not leaving food out to graze on, and using small plates at meals are all good practices that can help to prevent overeating.