For a celiac or gluten intolerant person, the quality of life you get back after removing gluten cannot be put into words. While avoiding gluten can be challenging, the way you feel usually outweighs any obstacle. However, there is an emerging trend that could become an issue if we do not get out in front of it.
DISCLAIMER: in no way are we suggesting that celiac or gluten intolerant individuals go off their diets. We are simply informing you of a developing trend.
According to a study in the March issue of Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, those recently diagnosed with celiac are susceptible to gaining weight. While researchers do not suggest why they think this occurs, we can tell you two reasons why.
1. Human nature is such that when you are diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, and are offered myriad gluten-free carbohydrate-laden alternatives, you tend to take consumption to the extreme because you can eat them symptom-free.
Please understand that you can gain weight by eating too many gluten-free products. There are as many calories in some gluten-free products as are in their gluten counterparts. The quality and taste of gluten-free products have become so much better, enticing us to eat that many more of them. Let this be a reminder to eat in moderation.
2. When the digestive tract heals and absorption returns to normal, many gluten-free individuals, who for so long have overeaten to maintain weight, do not adjust their consumption, and in turn, gain weight. This should be a reminder to always work with a health professional with expertise in celiac disease and gluten intolerance to manage your portions.
The team of researchers compared the body mass index of 1018 celiac subjects against data for the general population. While they found that celiac disease patients on a gluten-free diet were significantly less likely to be overweight or obese (32% vs. 59%), they also found that average body mass increased after patients adopted a gluten-free diet. Overall, 21.8% of celiac patients with normal or high BMI at study entry increased their BMI by more than two points.
As a result, the study team feels that dietary counseling should be an integral part of celiac dietary education.
What we are saying is that gluten-free is not the code word for pig out!