In a recent report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a gluten-free diet was measured for its effectiveness at shedding pounds. According to Mayo Clinic’s gluten expert, Joseph Murray MD, there is no evidence that a gluten free diet will affect weight loss. In fact, in this study conducted on celiac patients on a gluten free diet, some gained weight, some lost weight, and some did not change. (1)
It seems what’s causing the perceived weight loss on a gluten-free diet is not the absence of gluten itself, but the reduction in consumption of the starchy foods that deliver gluten.
When breads, pasta, pizza, bagels, burritos, cookies, pancakes, muffins, cakes and most snack foods are not available due to a gluten free diet folks just don’t eat as much and therefore lose weight, according to Murray.
Without gluten-rich foods, what’s left? Most people on a gluten-free diet will raise their intake of veggies and lean meat, which may also be responsible for the weight loss.
Gluten is a hard to digest protein that often passes through the stomach undigested. While it is meant to be entirely processed before the food bolus moves on to the small intestine, when there is weak digestive fire (HCL production), gluten enters the small intestine, where it acts as an intestinal irritant. Once here, it can inflame the intestines and cause a host of conditions.
An irritated intestinal tract will leak undigested foods and toxins into the blood and lymph on the outside of the intestinal wall.
Fatigue is a major sign of gluten intolerance, along with the following:
- Gas and bloating
- Abdominal fat
- Lymph congestion
- Skin rashes
- And much more:
For most folks who are gluten intolerant and do not have celiac disease, this is a sign that the upper digestion has weakened. You can stop eating gluten, but a strong digestion is important for many other foods and perhaps most importantly to detox the environmental pollutants that we just cannot avoid. Even the best organic veggies are laced with mercury from the coal mine plumes that cover most of America. If you cannot digest gluten, then your natural detox pathways are likely compromised, putting you at greater risk.
Remember, a good digester is a good detoxifier!
1. Am J Clin Nutr 79: 669, 2004
Source: Nutrition Action. Jan/Feb 2013. Gut Myths
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