Gluten - Is it bad for you? Does it inhibit weight-loss?
There is a huge trend with products being ‘gluten free’ and everyone seemingly being Celiac these days. But is Gluten bad for your health and does it stop you from losing weight?
First of all, we will look at health, and while there is limited research in this area with non-Celiac participants, Jenkins et al (1999) showed that 2 weeks of increased wheat gluten consumption in 24 non-Celiac adults actually reduced their serum triglycerides by 13%. So, increasing gluten actually improved one of their health markers.
Lis et al (2015) also found that a short-term GF (Gluten free) diet in endurance athletes had no overall effect on performance, wellbeing, GI symptoms or inflammatory markers.
Self-reported non-celiac gluten sensitive patients followed a low FODMAP diet for 2 weeks Then received a high-gluten (16g gluten/day), low gluten (2g gluten/day) or control diet for 1 week. The Low FODMAP diet improved IBS symptoms but there was no effect of gluten in either group. Biesiekierski et al. (2013)
This study shows that it is not actually the gluten that these individuals were responding to but the FODMAP (fermentable carbohydrates). So, unless your Celiac, Gluten is not bad for your health.
“But I cut out gluten and I’ve lost weight!”
Ok, that’s fine, but the cutting out of gluten was done by cutting out things such as bread, cake, pizza etc. This in turn means you are likely to reduce your calorie intake and TADA! You’ve lost some weight!
So, it is not actually the lack of gluten, it is the reduction of calories that caused the weight loss.
Now, if you are celiac (Gluten Intolerant), then obviously you have to go on a ‘GF’ diet. However, to reinforce the fact that gluten doesn’t inhibit fat loss, studies have shown that 81% of patients that complied with the diet put on fat and that treatment significantly increased fat stores.
Yes, you can eat gluten and it won’t stop you from losing weight or harm your health.
However, cutting out some of the foods that happen to have gluten in can be beneficial due to reduction of calories and reduction of FODMAPS.