Gluten-Free Diet is the latest trend for those who are looking for weight loss or maintaining their weight. But is gluten responsible in losing weight? The answer is no. It is actually the change in the meal pattern and in the right selection of foods while going into gluten-free diet.
Eating gluten-free often leads a person to select more of whole, unprocessed foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and lean proteins. These changes are often healthier and low in calories. People going into gluten-free diet are much more aware in reading food labels and hence they chose the gluten-free natural options like salads, chicken breast, sweet potatoes, fruits over cheese burgers, French fries, etc. That indirectly helps one to lose weight over time.
Celiac disease is an auto-immune disease in which the ingestion of gluten induces inflammation of the gut. Hence, a gluten-free diet where recommended to the patients.
But now it is so trendy that 8 out 10 weight loss people opt for this. It is considered as one of the fad diet for weight loss.
What is Gluten Free Diet and Gluten?
A gluten-free diet is a diet that excludes the protein gluten. Gluten is mostly found in grains such as wheat, rye, barely, and numerous other foods containing or made from these ingredients.
Gluten can also be found in many non-food items, such as medicines, lipstick and stamp adhesives.
Gluten-free Eating Guide
Below is the following guide lists food that are recommended.
- Grains & Starchy Vegetables: Amaranth, arrowroot, buckwheat, bean flours, corn, flax, cassava, Indian rice grass, millet, nut flours, pea flour, potato flour/starch, quinoa, all forms of rice, sago, sorghum, soy flour, tapioca, uncontaminated oats.
- Vegetables & Fruits: All plain, fresh, frozen and canned vegetables.
- Milk: Milk, buttermilk and cream; plain cheese, cream cheese, cottage cheese.
- Meats & Beans: All plain, fresh meat, poultry and fish; eggs; legumes; nuts, nut butters (e.g. Peanut butter); seeds and tofu.
- Oils: Vegetables oils and margarine (choose trans-free margarines).
- Sweets & Snack foods: Cakes, cookies and pastries made from gluten-free flours; corn & rice tortillas; egg custards; gelatin desserts; plain popcorn; plain rice cakes or rice crackers; whipped toppings.
- Beverages: Distilled alcoholic beverages (e.g. rum, gin, whiskey, vodka, wine and pure liqueurs); coffee; juices; soft drinks; tea.
- Other (condiments, baking ingredients, soups, sauces and gravies): Aspartame; baking soda; butter, lard and shortening; corn syrup, maple syrup and sugar; cream of tartar; homemade broths; honey, jams, jellies, marmalade; ketchup; mustard; pure cocoa, baking chocolate and chocolate chips; plain pickles and relish; pure herbs and spices; pure black pepper; salt; vanilla; vinegar; yeast.
- Annatto, Glucose syrup, Lecithin, Maltodextrin (even when it is made from wheat), Oat gum, Silicon dioxide, Starch and food starch; Citric, lactic and malic acids; Sucrose, dextrose and lactose
- Arrowroot, Cornstarch, Guar and xanthan gums, Tapioca flour, Potato starch flour and potato starch, Vanilla
- More gluten-free items: Mono and diglycerides
- If there is no ingredient list on the container, it contains only the pure spice noted on the label. However, be aware that spices and seasonings are two different things. See below for more information on seasonings, which may contain gluten.
Below is the list of those foods that should be questioned because they may contain gluten, so do read the food label before buying.
- Grains & Starchy vegetables: Baked products made with buckwheat (buckwheat is sometimes blended with wheat flour in baking mixes.); cereals (may contain barley, malt flavoring or barley malt extract); French fries; rice mixes, rice pilaf.
- Vegetables: Vegetables in sauce
- Fruits: Dried Fruits (may be dusted with flour).
- Milk: Yogurt, cheese sauces and spreads; flavored cheese.
- Meats & beans: Cold cuts, hot dogs, salami, sausage; imitation seafood; flavored tofu; meat marinades and flavorings; seasoned nuts; poultry basted or injected with broth.
- Oils: Mayonnaise.
- Sweets & Snack Foods: Candy; ice-cream, sherbet, sorbet and popsicles; potato chips; seasoned or flavored snack chips.
- Beverages: Cocoa drinks; flavored alcoholic (e.g. ciders and coolers); flavored teas and coffees; non-dairy soy, rice, potato and nut beverages.
- Other (condiments, baking ingredients, soups, sauces and gravies): Baking powder, brown rice syrup; gravy and sauces; soups and broths; salad dressings.
- Modified food starch is gluten free, except when wheat is noted on the label, either as “modified wheat starch” or “modified starch (wheat).” In other instances, the “Contains” statement at the end of the ingredients list may include wheat.
- Wheat starch is allowed in gluten-free foods if the wheat starch has been processed to remove the gluten protein. In addition to a gluten-free label, the packaging of any product using safe wheat starch will note that it has been processed to meet FDA gluten-free standards. Wheat starch in foods that do not also have a gluten-free label are not safe on the gluten-free diet.
Below is the following guide lists food that are avoided.
- Grains & Starchy vegetables: Barley, bulgur, chapatti flour, couscous, cracked wheat, durum, gluten & gluten flour, hydrolyzed wheat protein, malt, matzo flour, oats (most commercial brands), orzo, rye, semolina, spelt, triticale, wheat (wheat flour, wheat bran, wheat germ, other wheat products).
- Vegetables: Breaded vegetables.
- Fruits: Thickened fruits.
- Milk: Malted milk.
- Meats & beans: Breaded meat, poultry or fish.
- Sweets & Snack Foods: Chocolate bars and candy that contain barley malt flavoring or wheat flour; ice-cream made with gluten-containing ingredients (e.g. cookie dough, brownies); ice-cream cones; icing and frosting.
- Beverages: Un-distilled alcoholic beverages(e.g. beer, ale, lager)
- Other (condiments, baking ingredients, soups, sauces and gravies): Malt vinegar; soy sauce; teriyaki sauce.
Shopping for Gluten-free Foods
When you are shopping for foods, do read the food labels properly and check whether it is 100% gluten –free or not. Also if you get a gluten-free product, do check is it healthy option or not. Like for e.g. an apple and a gluten-free sugar cookie are both gluten-free, but they do vary drastically in their nutrient wise.
So, it’s not necessary that all the gluten-free products in the market are healthy because they are not equally nutritious.
Grocery and health stores are all flooded with gluten-free cakes, cookies and sweet treats. These foods might be gluten-free but they are often high in sugar and fat, making them calorie dense.
There is no harm in taking a gluten-free diet but one have to be wise and careful while consuming a food. Remember to consume a balance diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, lean proteins and non-gluten foods like quinoa, buckwheat or brown rice.
What about Oats?
Oats are considered safe on the gluten-free diet if they have been specially processed to prevent cross-contamination by gluten-containing grains. These oats are labeled gluten free. Mainstream oats, including those commonly used in breakfast cereals, are not considered safe unless they are labeled gluten free.
Oats are allowed as an ingredient in products labeled gluten-free as long as the final food meets the FDA gluten-free standard. This includes granola, granola bars, cookies and other products. Products that are made with oats but do not have a gluten-free label are not gluten free.
Suggestions on Eating a Gluten-free diet
- Focus on foods that are naturally gluten-free, such as fresh produce, fresh meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, milk, nuts and cooking oils.
- Leads to a healthier diet filled with less processed foods, if checked properly.
- Introduces much high quality grains like quinoa, millet, gluten-free oats, etc. into your diet.
- Always read the ingredient list to make sure the food is free from gluten.
- When eating out, do ask about the ingredients and the preparation methods.
- Avoid cross-contamination with gluten-containing products when preparing foods.
Cutting down gluten foods from the diet often makes you feel more craving. But there are many healthy, natural and delicious foods that are made through gluten- free foods.