Saturday, April 02, 2011


Oh boy, is this a strong subject matter for those of us unfortunate enough to be eating gluten free. Lauren @ Daring to Thrive brought to my attention a recent Dr Oz segment on how "eating gluten free makes you fat."

This bothers me a lot.


"A gluten free diet is a low carb diet" IT CAN BE. That's the thing the segment needed to expand upon, rather than forcing down our throats that the diet makes you fat. In my humble opinion, it's the carbs - the refined, processed foods - that are the culprit for those who gain weight on the diet.

Dr Hyman mentions that gluten makes people w/ gluten sensitivity fat. I definitely agree with that. I have friends who have severe inflammatory responses to gluten - retaining water, puffy faces, etc. That boils down to the primal theory that our bodies are not as tolerant to grains as we would like, due to the fact that most of our human history, grains have not had a prevalent part to play in our nutrition (up until the last century or so). Our biological makeup was never meant to consume these inflammatory grains on a regular basis (enter the Standard American Diet, stage left). Thanks to all the wonders of industrializing, and modern medical health, we have become a world more able to sustain its numbers, but in doing so, have caused these toxic grains to become the mainstay in our diet.
According to this study from 2009, 63% of American adults are overweight or obese.

This insane obesity trend report from the CDC maps out what percentage of Americans are obese in each state.

And yet, the gluten free diet is being knocked on here. Out of the 300+ million people living in America, 20 million of those are on a gluten free diet. 6% of the American population are potentially getting fat from not eating gluten. Hrmm.

For more info about primal/paleo living, check out this fantastic site.

I really like this article I found by Matthew Solan, who writes for Men's Health. He quotes a Dr Lara Field, a dietitian at the University of Chicago:

Still, cutting out gluten can lead to weight loss—but not for the reason gluten-free advocates think. A strict gluten-free diet forces you to stay away from some refined carbohydrates that can lead to weight gain, Field explains. And that, she says, is where the weight-loss secret lies.

Gluten is found in many of the familiar weight-gain culprits: pizza, beer, burgers, pancakes. "Gluten itself probably isn't the reason you've packed on pounds," says Field.

"Eating too many refined carbohydrates is what expands your waistline." Commit to staying gluten-free and your food choices can become a snapshot of a healthy diet—with creative carb substitutions, fruits, vegetables, brown rice, seeds and nuts, along with meat, fish, eggs, and milk products.

Gluten free Oreo's are just as bad as real Oreo's. That's the bottom line. And that is what Dr Oz failed to make clear in his presentation of the gluten free diet. If you're replacing, food-for-food, all the unhealthy things you used to consume when eating gluten, of course you're not going to get any skinnier.

I am not condemning those who indulge in the occasional gluten free goodie. I have quite a sweet tooth myself, and it's only the mild reaction I get to sweets that keeps me shying away from OD-ing on chocolate every night. I love me a good brownie, cookie, cupcake, pie, etc! And when I first went gluten free, I tried so hard to recreate these recipes to help me feel less deprived. And I succeeded! Yes, eating gluten free goodies can be just as rewarding as the old stuff.

The key is to indulge moderately. I usually allow myself one sweet a day. One serving of one sweet a day, not a whole batch of cookies. If I slip up (ie, eat more than that), I don't beat myself up over it (although my tummy often does that for me). But I have learned that I can't feel deprived, or I will binge.

Sorry for the long-winded rant. I'd love to hear what you all think on the matter.

And once you've had time to stew over this injustice, head over to Karina's site. She's not the GF Goddess for nothing. This post brought tears to my eyes. Once you've read that, hopefully you can do as I've struggled to do over the last couple of days, and move on. Forgive those who offend us GF-ers. Those who are too ignorant to allow changes that benefit the lives of those of us who have no choice.

Yes, we get on our soap boxes. Yes, we rant, yes we obsess. But at the same time, our lives (and the lives of those we care for) depend on us doing these things. We have to check labels. We have to be annoying to waiters. We have to discuss ingredients with hostesses.

We do these things, not to make anyone else's life harder, but to protect ourselves. To keep us out of the bathroom for five straight days. To keep us from using up a year's worth of sick days at work due to one moment of ignorance. To keep us living our lives as they were meant to be lived.

Honestly, I wouldn't have my life any other way. Would I rather have to depend on medication the rest of my life for this? No. Or how about having to go to regular doctor appointments, constant blood work, tests, therapy, treatments? No, absolutely not. I am so thankful that I am the one in control of treating this disease for myself.

My life is so very good, despite the things I can't change - the problems I am dealing with right now with my body, the stresses in my job and at home. Life is full of so many beautiful things. Wonderful, loving people, an amazing world around me, lots of opportunities, and really good food! So, despite all the haters, I plan on enjoying it all, and I hope you all are able to do the same :D