Ask Leah! The Ingles Dietitian

Sponsored: Learn more about a gluten-free diet

ingles dietitianQUESTION: One of my New Year’s resolutions was to eat healthier and so I have been trying a gluten-free diet.  Do you think a gluten-free diet is healthy and will it help me lose weight?

Answer:  Gluten is a combination of the proteins (glutenin and gliadin) found in wheat, barley and rye. For individuals with celiac disease,  a gluten-free diet is a medical necessity and is currently the only treatment for that disease. 

For those without celiac disease who voluntarily go gluten-free, any time you eliminate or restrict foods you cut calories and can achieve weight loss.  The bigger questions might be what will you end up adding into your diet and how long you can maintain a gluten-free diet? 

Many gluten-free packaged items are higher in fat and sugar and are not made with whole grains so they may have fewer nutrients and also have more calories.  In this case you may end up consuming more calories and not achieve weight loss or that “healthier” diet.  Additionally many packaged gluten-free items are more expensive than their gluten containing counterparts.  

Bottom Line: Can you improve your diet and improve your health by simply exercising more and  increasing your fruit and vegetable intake and not “going gluten-free”? 

Leah McGrath, RDN, LDN

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