Going Gluten Free Isn’t a Weight Loss Diet
Celebrities such as Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj have made headlines recently about going gluten free as part of their health regimes. It’s easy for fans to think that celebs who are going gluten free are doing so to just to lose weight and may follow along hoping to shed pounds themselves.
To set the record straight, going gluten free is not a weight loss diet. A gluten free diet is prescribed by doctors or dietitians for those who have been diagnosed with difficulty digesting, or are sensitive to gluten. The condition is called celiac disease.
What is Celiac Disease?
According to the Mayo Clinic, celiac disease is an immune response to gliadin, a gluten protein found in wheat, rye and barley. It changes the lining of a patient’s intestines affecting how the body absorbs nutrients. It affects about one percent of the population and about 10 percent suffer from the sensitivity; and though rare, the Mayo Clinic – one of the major treatment centers for the condition – reports that it has been the rise over the years.
Those who suffer from celiac disease or gluten sensitivity can feel a wide range of symptoms – everything from exhaustion to painful bloating, stomach pain, diarrhea, and even unexplained weight loss.
The only way to properly diagnose the disease is to have a doctor perform a tissue biopsy to determine if the patient’s intestines have been affected by gluten. If so, then the patient and doctor work together to determine the next course of action.
Going Gluten Free is Not About Weight Loss
With all the public hype about celebrities going gluten free and talking about their health and weight loss it is easy for people to think that if they eliminate gluten from their diets they’ll see weight loss as well, without really understanding why people go gluten free in the first place.
For us non-celebrities, we should understand this about gluten free diets: they are not a weight loss miracle diet. Gluten free products don’t necessarily mean low calorie, low sugar or proper portion control – things that are key to any real weight loss diet. In fact, many food companies are hopping on the craze and are creating gluten-free foods – but a look at the labels show they can be as high in fat and low in nutrients as some junk foods. But, due to the hype around this diet we could be fooled into thinking we’ll lose weight as long as there is no gluten, but that is simply not the case.
As any doctor or dietitian will tell you, the only way to lose weight is to set a calorie and exercise goal and follow that steadily over time – eating well-balanced meals and recording as you go. If you aren’t feeling well and suspect gluten may be at fault your doctor can prescribe the tests that will diagnose the condition and can take the results into consideration when developing a healthy eating and exercise plan.
Get Inspired – But Lose Weight the Right Way
If the buff bodies of Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus inspire you to want to live a healthy life that’s a great step. However, a celebrity fad diet – or in this case a misunderstood medically based diet – isn’t going to get you there. Instead, take the inspiration to get healthy, visit your doctor to get a baseline on your overall health, and then begin nutrition and exercise program that works for your needs, sensibly over time.
To find out more about celiac disease here is a list of websites with more information: