Living Gluten Free

During nutrition consultation I conduct, I often hear that people follow a reasonable diet and exercise plan but they still can not manage to loose weight. The usual suspect… gluten.

The damage gluten can do to those with an intolerance (celiacs) or even those with a sensitivity is vast. It’s known to cause hormonal imbalances, damage the gut and lead to wright gain through inflammation. Here are seven ways eating gluten can make you fat:

1. Leaky gut is basically when little openings (Intestinal permeability) occur along the intestinal wall and bacteria is allowed to pass through creating an immune response. Symptoms include fatigue, bloating, and these contribute to weight gain. Intestinal permeability is also increased in skin conditions such as psoriasis and atopic eczema.

2. Inflammation. Consuming gluten can trigger the inflammatory response in any tissue. As you may already know, chronic inflammation is not your friend. Besides contributing to nearly every chronic inflammation is known to contribute to every disease you can imagine. A few examples are, diabetes cancer, IBS and heart disease.This inflammation response can create a number of other problems that stall fat loss. Fatigue, high cortisol levels and poor metabolism just to list a few.

3. Insulin resistance. Yes, we have discussed this before. Many processed gluten-containing foods have a high glycemic load which will elevate blood sugar levels which inhibits your bodies capability of maintain insulin homeostasis, i.e. regulate blood sugar.

4. Leptin resistance. Leptin is a hormone that alerts the brain when you’re full. This means you’re less likely to reach for That second serving. But when you become leptin resistant, your brain doesn’t “hear” leptin’s message to put the brakes on the buffet, putting you at risk for overeating and weight gain. Those sassy sugar-binding proteins that cause insulin resistance, may also create leptin resistance.

5. Cravings. Ever find yourself uncontrollably eating a box of crackers or reaching for a third slice of buttered toast? Yes you say… well ironically, the foods you’re most reactive to are the ones you crave the most. How can this be? The body reacts to these intolerant foods by creating an addictive narcotic called opioid endorphins. Like a drug, it gives a feeling of euphoria when you eat these foods, and in turn you crave them. Then, you guessed it, you gain more weight!

6. Blocks nutrient absorption. Gluten in known to inhibit nutrient absorption. Gluten-triggered permeability inhibits your gut from absorbing nutrients and making vitamin B-12. In addition, the indigestible components in gluten and other whole grains are considered an anti-nutrient because they bind to nutrients and reduce their bioavailability.

7. Effects thyroid function. You can increase your chances for autoimmune disease when you constantly eat gluten. Why? Many people who have been unsuccessful at losing weight due often has issues due to thyroid disease. People with the most common type of thyroid disease have 12 times the rate of gluten intolerance as the general population does. Consequently, those struggling with their weight should consider a gluten free diet along with assessment of thyroid status.”

So now what? Are you ready to take the next step and see if a gluten free diet is the right choice for you? The only true way to test sensitivity is an elimination diet. Basically, you remove gluten in all forms, from your diet for at least 6 weeks. After this time, you may reintroduce gluten products and see how your body “reacts”. Personally, I’ve noticed a huge change in energy levels and digestive issues. When I eat gluten laced products I feel instantly ill. Headache, sinus congestion and digestion pain.

Here are a few links to get you started on your gluten free challenge.

Meal planning:
Eating Well Gluten Free Meal Plan


Vegan GF meal plan at Feed Me, I’m cranky

Gluten Free Goddess has amazing recipes

Great info on all things gluten free at

As with any diet, stick with whole foods, veggies, fruits and lean proteins. Use caution with grains as they may contain gluten. Aside from the obvious forbidden gluten foods, breads, cakes, cookies etc, I recommend avoiding all processed GF foods, GF mixes and fast food. Many processed GF products contain high glycemic starches which equal empty calories. Think “whole food”

Set your goals and record your progress!

In good health,
~ Sarah



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