OK, I am going to get on a soap box here for a moment. I am soo sick of hearing about people who think going Gluten Free is just the latest weight loss fad. NO it is not! Gluten Free should only be done if instructed to do so by your doctor. The biggest misconception is that it helps you lose weight and that you are cutting carbs. That is partially true- BUT does not work for everyone. If you have Celiac- you may actually GAIN weight because your body is finally absorbing nutrients and you are no longer malnourished. If you are like me and cut back on your breads and pastas because, well GF foods are expensive- then yes you may lose weight.
I just read an article about diet myths from Fitness Magazine where they talked with Tricia Thompson, RD, author of The Gluten-Free Nutrition Guide. In this article they actually talk about health risks for Gluten Free if you do not need to, including heart risks and pregnancy risks. Now I will admit- if I am talking to someone and they have symptoms that sound similar to mine or someone I know with Celiac or Gluten Intolerance, I will suggest it to them. I will suggest they look into it, provide them with some sites I use for sources and let them make their judgement. I also advise them to talk to their doctor.
So now back to the weight loss myth- Why does it not work to lose weight? The biggest factor is the foods still have the calories and the carbs. You are just substituting one carb for another. Bread and Pasta are my biggest examples. Lets look at some nutritional facts: Sara Lee Soft & Smooth White Bread considers a serving size to be 2 slices of bread- For that they have 150 Calories, 190 mg Sodium and 28g Total Carbs. Rudi’s Gluten Free Bread considers a serving to be 1 slice- for that they have 90 Calories, 135 mg Sodium, and 17g Total Carbs. Double that for 2 slices like you would have for a sandwich and you are actually taking in more Carbs and Calories then regular bread.
For Pasta I compared my favorite- Ancient Harvest Quinoa Noodles for a 2oz serving you will get yourself 205 calories and 46g total Carbs. Barilla Spaghetti Noodles has 200 Cal and 42g Carbs for a 2 oz serving (so this is actually healthier!).
I am sure if I really dug deep cookies and crackers and all those things will be the same. I used to make a pasta salad with practically every grilled dish during this summer. This year- only made one a few times a month because it was cheaper to buy fresh veggies 🙂 I also do not eat bagels, donuts, sandwiches or use buns with my burgers and hot dogs or brats any more. Now when I try I find them to filling 🙂
So please if you are thinking about trying to go GF just to lose weight remember that you are not removing carbs, just replacing them. If you feel you would benefit medically from going gluten free talk about it with your doctor. Take note of your symptoms, when they get worse, and research (because well to be honest it is still new to doctors and there are some who do not know much about Gluten Intolerance or Celiac).
*disclosure: these are just my personal thoughts- I am not a nutritionists or a doctor. *