Will a gluten-free diet improve your health?

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In my over 10 years of experience in the health and fitness industry, I’ve seen many trends come and go…Grapefruit diets, liquid diets, low carb diets, cauliflower diets (ok, I made that up), but there is always “a new popular kid in town” and weight loss ideas that are the “cool in thing” to do.

It seems like these days everyone is going Gluten Free and avoiding gluten like the plague, but is this strategy really the best way to lose weight? Let’s dive into the topic a little deeper.

 What exactly is Gluten?

First I will tell you what gluten is NOT. Gluten is not a grain, but is a component of grains and cereals. Gluten is actually a protein and is most commonly found in wheat, rye and barley. Since most bread, cereals, crackers, pasta and many packaged snacks all contain either wheat, rye or barley, these foods are all gluten-containing foods.

There are many grains that do not contain gluten such as wild rice, corn, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, quinoa, and some oats. So people who are avoiding gluten will still eat and enjoy these foods or any food made from them.

 What’s the big deal about gluten anyway?

Going “gluten free” has become all the rage in the weight loss and health industry. Just as going low fat or low carb had its time in the limelight, it seems like the new fad and trend is to go gluten free (c’mon, all the cool kids are doing it). There is a small percentage of people (less than 1% in theUnited States) that DO need to avoid gluten at all costs because they suffer from an extreme allergy to gluten called Celiac Disease. This is a very serious disease that needs to be diagnosed and treated by the right medical professionals and should not be taken lightly.

A greater percentage of people are not walking around with Celiac Disease (trust me, you would know if you had it), but have a moderate to severe intolerance to gluten where their digestive system simply cannot process this particular protein causing them symptoms like gas, bloating, and digestive difficulty. Another problematic side effect of gluten intolerance is the inability to lose unwanted fat off your body, making it extremely difficult to even lose a few stubborn pounds.

With that being said, I’m going to tell you something extremely important about gluten. READY? You Do NOT have to give up gluten in order to lose weight and be healthy. With gluten free being the latest cool topic on the weight loss circuit, everyone seems to believe that going completely gluten free is the only way to lose weight. Now, I’m not saying there isn’t value in giving it a try and many people have experienced drastic changes in their health and weight when going gluten free, but I want you to take your health journey at your own comfortable pace and follow a plan that is livable and doable for you.

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