For people diagnosed with celiac disease, a diet that excludes the protein gluten is a key component to managing the symptoms of the disease and living a more healthy and comfortable life.

However, today more and more people who do not suffer from celiac disease are choosing to eat gluten-free diets in an effort to lose weight.

In her food and health blog for a South Carolina newspaper, dietician Leah McGrath recently wrote, “these days I encounter many people who tell me they have gone gluten free to lose weight or because it is healthier. There is no research or proof to either of these beliefs, and in fact the opposite is often true.”

Generally speaking, adhering to a gluten-free diet means avoiding flour, wheat and other grains such as rye and barley. It means finding alternatives for pastas, breads, cereals, baked snacks, even some soups and soup bases.

McGrath continues, “many of these gluten-containing products are enriched, fortified and contain fiber, so you may be missing out on vitamins, minerals and fiber when you cut out gluten-containing bread, cereal and pasta.”

However, she does concede that if you replace those foods with so-called ancient grains and whole grains such as quinoa and brown rice, and begin eating more fruits and vegetables, you may lose weight and still get vital nutrients that your body needs.

McGrath ends with this gentle warning, “If you buy gluten-free versions of packaged items — cookies, pizzas and snacks — you probably will not lose weight and in fact may gain weight. Why? When gluten is removed from a food product, often more fat or sugar is added. And sometimes the products are not enriched or fortified, so your diet may end up having fewer vitamins and less fiber.”

If you have not been diagnosed with celiac disease but are interested in the benefits that a gluten-free diet may offer you, we invite you to contact Mediplan and schedule a consultation with us to determine whether going gluten-free is the right way for you to go.