How to Know if You Should Go Gluten-FreeArticle posted in: Lifestyle
Gluten, a protein found in grains like wheat, barley and rye, has gotten a lot of buzz—and a lot of blame—in the weight loss world in recent years. Thinking that going gluten-free may help chase away those pesky extra pounds, many people are embarking on this type of diet to lose weight. But, according to research in the Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, there is no evidence to support that a gluten-free diet aids in weight loss.
Kicking gluten to the curb isn’t actually necessary, unless you have a medical condition or gluten sensitivity. A gluten-free diet is most appropriate for people with wheat allergies, celiac disease or an autoimmune disorder, or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
So, how do you know if gluten-free is the way to go?
Listen to Your Body.
Pay attention to how you feel after consuming foods containing gluten, like most beers, breads, candies, cakes and pies, cereals, etc. Symptoms of gluten sensitivity include digestive issues, fatigue and brain fog, feeling dizzy or off balance, migraine headaches, inflammation and pain in your joints, and mood disorders. If you have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia, chances are greater that you are gluten intolerant.
Do an Elimination Diet.
First, take stock of how your body feels overall and make note of any issues you are experiencing. Then, eliminate gluten from your diet for roughly one month. It’s best not to consume gluten-free packaged goods, and to stick with a whole foods approach. Enjoy organic, grass-fed lean beef, chicken, fish and shellfish, as well as vegetables, beans and lentils, nuts, seeds and gluten-free grains such as quinoa and brown rice. If you feel better overall during the elimination diet or you feel worse after re-introducing gluten into your diet, you may have a gluten sensitivity or intolerance.
See Your Doctor.
If you suspect that gluten is wreaking havoc on your health, schedule an appointment with a registered dietitian. You can search the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ database of registered dietitians by zip code. You may also want to talk to your doctor about being tested for an autoimmune disorder.