In the past I have been somewhat critical of the media’s ‘profiling’ if you will, that a gluten-free diet is the latest weight loss craze. My upset came from the fact that gluten causes so much more than weight gain. As a toxic protein, gluten can create problems in literally every system of the human body in those who are sensitive to it. And, due to our poor diet, increased toxic environmental load and drug exposure, the incidence of gluten intolerance and celiac diseases rises every time we evaluate it.
I think you would agree that a substance that has been linked to depression, migraines, fatigue, joint pain, autoimmune disease, infertility and autism and yes, weight gain, deserves more ‘press’ than a quick quip about it being the latest diet of the stars.
But let’s look at fat and overweight for a moment. Weight gain poses a very serious problem here in the US. A full two-thirds of our population is overweight while one-third is obese. The diseases we now appreciate that are caused by an abundance of fat cells is staggering. In fact, we now understand that fat cells literally explode and the chemicals they release directly cause degenerative diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and more.
So while I don’t like press that places gluten put into the same category as the latest and greatest weight loss fad, I am happy at any evidence that shows gluten to be a serious weight loss tool that not only lowers the pounds but has a profound effect on the overall health of the body.
I was therefore delighted to read a study that was just published last week in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. The title is a mouthful, as so many scientific articles are, so I have included the full reference specifics below.
The researchers, out of Brazil, took a strain of mice and divided them into two groups. Both groups were fed a high-fat diet but only one group’s diet contained gluten at 4.5% of their total diet. The other group were completely gluten-free.
Body weight and fat gains were assessed, as were blood profiles that measured insulin resistance and inflammatory chemicals released from fat cells. In addition, positive measurements that were protective against disease and anti-inflammatory were also evaluated.
What they found was not only beneficial effects of a gluten-free diet in reducing fat gain, but the gluten-free diet also was anti-inflammatory and reduced insulin resistance.
If you haven’t heard these terms before, know that inflammation and insulin resistance are key issues in the development of the chronic degenerative diseases that are killing most Americans, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
The authors’ conclusion was that gluten exclusion from the diet should be tested as a ‘new dietary approach’ to prevent the development of obesity and metabolic disorders.
That would mean that anyone with a weight problem, type II diabetes, heart disease, etc should be tested for gluten intolerance.
Now one thing I can guarantee you, these mice were not living on sugary gluten-free cookies nor were they lounging on the couch all day! You get what I mean. These were mice that were put on a healthy diet that contained no gluten, and they exercised at a healthy level.
And, while I appreciate that you are not a mouse, do understand that animal studies on mice and rats translate quite nicely into human biology. Otherwise there wouldn’t be such an abundance of research using these animals.
The takeaway from this study goes beyond the healthy weight and fat percentages that these gluten-free animals attained. Their blood profiles, when on a gluten-free diet were exceptional. The blood tests revealed that these animals were also less likely to develop the chronic degenerative diseases that afflict most Americans.
For me, that was the exciting part as it went way beyond simple weight loss.
My recommendation? Listen to these researchers and try a gluten-free diet. If you can get a blood test first to determine if you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, that’s best. But if that’s not available to you, try a 30 day gluten-free trial. After 30 days, see if you feel better. Maybe a specific symptom abates but perhaps it’s just a general feeling of improved well-being. Such changes indicate a positive test and remaining gluten-free is heartily recommended.
Do you want to lose weight? Give this a try and let me know how you do.
I look forward to hearing from you.
If your health is not where you want it to be, consider calling us for a free health analysis – 408-733-0400. We are here to help!
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To your good health,
Dr Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN
Founder of HealthNOW Medical Center
Co-author of “The Gluten Effect”
Author of the e-Book: “Gluten Intolerance – What you don’t know may be killing you!”
The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. 2012 Dec 17. pii: S0955-2863(12)00226-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2012.08.009. Gluten-free diet reduces adiposity, inflammation and insulin resistance associated with the induction of PPAR-alpha and PPAR-gamma expression.