There’s lots being said about gluten these days, huh? It seems like most people are wondering if they should eliminate gluten or not and the grocery aisle of gluten-free products is growing by the second! But what IS gluten and who needs to be concerned about it?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barely, rye and other grains. Due to modern food processing, it’s also in most oat products. We tend to think of those foods as carbohydrates, and they are, but they also contain about 10-15% protein, most of which comes from gluten.
It is estimated that more than 1/3 of the population is sensitive to gluten and this sensitivity manifests in a number of different ways. You might experience headaches, acne, stomach discomfort, mood swings, bloating, joint pain, fatigue or menstrual irregularities. On the other hand, you might not notice any physical symptoms even though gluten may be triggering silent, symptomless inflammation throughout your body that might not produce symptoms for years!
Some people avoid gluten for health reasons. Others avoid gluten to accelerate their fat loss goals. Today I want to talk about some of the reasons you might want to consider eliminating gluten to help support your fat loss efforts. Here are a few ways gluten can seriously slow your progress:
- Gluten may lead to or worsen insulin resistance
Insulin resistance increases hunger, cravings and fat storage. Insulin is one of the most important hormones in the fat-loss process and it can either work for you or against you. Consuming gluten allows insulin to to fight against all your fat loss efforts.
- Gluten encourages leptin reistance
Leptin is the hormone responsible for letting your brain know when you’re full and don’t need to eat anymore. Gluten encourages your body to not be as responsive to the messages coming from leptin, which can lead to insatiable appetite and deafness to satiety signals. To successfully lose fat, your want your body to be VERY sensitive to leptin signals to keep hunger at bay and be able to easily feel satisfied after eating.
- Gluten-containing foods cause blood sugar spikes
Gluten-containing foods are generally high carbohydrate. This leads to rapid surges in blood sugar and associated insulin spikes. This causes the vicious cycle of carbohydrate cravings, energy crashes and fat storage. Stay far away from this cycle by avoiding these carbohydrate bombs.
- Gluten triggers inflammation
What does inflammation have to do with fat loss? It causes a stress response in your body. These stress hormones do NOT favor fat loss. Not only is inflammation a real concern as it relates to overall health, it also makes fat loss far more challenging.
Are you curious to know if you’re sensitive to gluten? The best way to find out is to commit to eliminating it from your diet for 7 days and see how your body responds. After 7 days, begin to re-introduce it slowly and note changes in your mood, energy, water retention, joint comfort, skin health, mental clarity and stomach comfort.
What can you eat if you want to eliminate gluten? A lot!
A word of warning: if you want to lose fat, stay away from processed foods. I don’t care if they say “gluten free” – if it’s processed, you shouldn’t be eating it everyday. There is a ton of gluten free junk food out there…it’s still junk food, gluten free or not.
Want to learn a little more about gluten? Click here for a great overview of gluten and what it can do inside your body, whether you feel it or not!
For detailed information on carbohydrate strategies for fat loss including more on fruit, wheat, oats, gluten plus strategies for improving your carbohydrate tolerance, check out the comprehensive carbs & fat loss ecourse! Follow the link below and use the coupon code Primal10 to get lifetime access for only $69 (including troubleshooting help from me on demand!)