Following a gluten-free diet is an essential indication for the treatment of celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. However, the number of people without any of these conditions who adhere to its practice for health reasons or to shed extra pounds is growing. However, it is important to clarify that a gluten-free diet alone won’t make you lose weight but we must respect some keys to lose weight with your practice.
Gluten-free diet in non-celiacs: is it useful to lose weight?
There are many people who point out that a gluten-free diet has benefits when it is put into practice even without being celiac. However, the scientific evidence in this regard is scarce and it cannot be concluded that it really is beneficial for the healthy population.
If we refer to the specific purpose of losing weight, the studies supporting its usefulness are limited and therefore, there is not enough scientific basis to support the use of a gluten-free diet to lose weight.
On the other hand, we must not forget that many people consider gluten-free products to be healthier than their same versions with gluten, something that can be very different in reality. A processed or ultra-processed gluten-free one is just as harmful as one with gluten inside.
Likewise, Eating gluten-free may mean a reduction in your intake of accessible, high-fiber whole grains inside, whose consumption has been inversely associated with the presence of excess weight and obesity, as well as other metabolic diseases.
Certain investigations also indicate that in healthy people, without immune-mediated diseases that could respond poorly to gluten or gastrointestinal pathologies such as irritable bowel syndrome, gluten avoidance could imply a great financial cost in addition to higher fat intake through food, the deficiency of vitamins, minerals and fiber as well as increased chances of experiencing an increase in blood glucose levels as well as lipids in the body.
Thus, We cannot affirm that a gluten-free diet favors health in non-celiacs or that it helps to lose weight, just as there is no scientific evidence to do so.
The keys to losing weight with a gluten-free diet
If you are celiac, have noticed positive changes, or have other reasons to follow a gluten-free diet and want to lose weight, you should know that just eliminating gluten foods will not make you lose weight, but it is key to consider the following aspects:
The diet should be based on fresh food and not on products
As we said before, there are many highly processed gluten-free products and large industries with powerful marketing around them, therefore, We should not trust the products but on the contrary, it is best to avoid industrial options.
Instead, it is advisable to eat fresh and seasonal foods, many of which are gluten-free by nature such as fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish, lean meats, or eggs.
Increase your fiber intake or don’t neglect your intake
As we have mentioned before, one of the detriments of a gluten-free diet can be the low intake of fiber, whose consumption can contribute to weight loss.
Therefore, if you want to lose weight it is important to not neglect your consumption or increase it by using gluten-free foods that offer fiber such as fresh fruits and vegetables in general, nuts, seeds, legumes, quinoa, brown rice, and derivatives.
Reduce (even moderately) carbohydrates in the diet
A diet low in carbohydrates can be very helpful when losing weight, whether in a diet with or without gluten.
Therefore, we recommend reduce the intake of whole grains and derivatives as well as legumes and choose fruits and vegetables as the main source of carbohydrates in the diet.
Of course, we recommend avoid sugars as much as possible free or added to the usual diet.
Avoid alcohol and caloric drinks
He alcohol Although it is not accompanied by gluten, it is advisable to always avoid it in our diet, since It does not provide any benefit and it is also a great impediment when losing weight.
So whenever possible it is advisable to avoid alcohol and all calorie drinks, choosing water as the main source of liquid for the diet.
Choose sources of lean protein and healthy fats
Proteins provide satiety to the body and can help us maintain fat-free mass in the body, thus promoting metabolic activity.
But we always recommend choosing lean protein sources such as low-fat fresh meats, white fish, egg white, fresh cheese, milk, and yogurt without added sugar.
Likewise, fats must be unsaturated above all which are the ones that are useful when losing weight and we can add them with fatty fish, nuts, seeds, avocado, extra virgin olive oil, or other vegetable oils.
Avoid fried foods and choose healthier cooking
As in any healthy diet that helps us lose weight, it is advisable to choose Cooking methods that help us conserve nutrients and that do not add fat or calories in excess to the dishes.
Thus, it is advisable to avoid fried foods and prefer grilled, baked, or steamed cooking or when you can, do without cooking fruits and vegetables for example.
With these keys, only a gluten-free diet can promote weight loss, otherwise, just by eliminating gluten-free foods, we will not lose weight.