Monday, October 24, 2011

To Gluten or Not To Gluten

Just last week, my nutritionist mentioned a sneaking suspicion that I might have a "sensitivity" to wheat and/or gluten products. Why? Because.....
  1. I crave bread always and forever - She says that a continuous craving for bread products is consistent with people who have a sensitivity to those grains because their bodies don't necessarily process them the same as other people.
  2. I have a difficult time losing weight even when I am exercising regularly and eating a healthful, well-balanced diet - She says that difficulty shedding weight even when trying is a common complaint/experience of people who have a sensitivity because our bodies retain everything we feed it....including water.
I've read a few little articles here and there since the last meeting with my nutritionist about the new gluten-free diet fad sweeping the nation.

The November issue of Health Magazine has an article on the topic. It basically says that cutting gluten from your diet may not actually help in losing weight if you choose to just replace the same breads and other baked goods with the gluten-free counterparts because those products often have more calories, carbs, fat, and sugar than the original wheat products.

WebMD is another place I found some helpful info. This article talks about who really needs to be on a gluten-free diet and why. Short answer: people with celiac disease. Also people who test negative for celiac disease but who still suffer from some of the same symptoms are considered to have a sensitivity to gluten so a restrictive diet can also benefit them. It also specifically says that eating a gluten-free diet is NOT necessarily healthy and must be done very carefully to avoid a deficiency in vitamin B12, vitamin D, iron, magnesium, and fiber to name a few. Read the article for more.

Fitness Magazine also had to weigh in on the gluten debate.

The MayoClinic is yet another source I found info on gluten-free diets.

So far, it looks like either my nutritionist is wrong or perhaps she was just using the wrong terminology because I have none of the symptoms of celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. But, I did stumble on another concept that may better fit the bill. Carbohydrate (and/or gluten) addiction.

Here's an article I found on the subject: Addiction to Carbohydrates and Gluten.....
I know nothing about the source so don't blame if it sucks. The article does talk about the cravings and the difficulty losing weight.

Here's a website dedicated to carb addiction:
Again, I know nothing about the source so don't blame if it sucks.
Ah merde! I just took their little carb addict quiz and guess who scored in the moderate zone.

Scholarly articles on carb addiction

Here's an article from The American Heart Association: Carbohydrate Addiction

After looking through all the above articles and consulting my own healthy living beliefs about what is right for me, I'm thinking I need more information. It seems to me that the gluten-free diet fad is just that, a fad for people who don't have celiac disease but are looking for the next easy answer as to why they can't lose weight. However, I'm intrigued by the carb addiction concept. I don't feel like I'm out of control but I do love bread and I have a long history of losing and regaining weight over and over again.


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