Gluten has gotten a bad rap in recent years, with some people even calling it the devil.
This seems a little harsh for a structural protein found in certain cereal grains. That said, gluten can cause serious intestinal damage for the 3.3 million Americans with celiac disease. And for the further 20 million Americans with non-celiac gluten sensitivity, gluten can lead to bloating, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and other issues.
But does gluten cause weight gain? Keep reading to learn the truth!
Gluten Intolerance, Gluten Sensitivity, and Weight Gain
Eating gluten causes anything but weight gain for those with celiac disease. Instead, they tend to be underweight compared to the general population. This is because eating gluten damages their intestinal lining, making it difficult for them to absorb as many calories from the foods they eat.
For those with gluten sensitivity, however, weight gain is one of many symptoms. This is due to the inflammation that gluten can cause in sensitive individuals. As such, they may want to find gluten free protein powder and other alternatives to gluten-based products to see if this reduces their symptoms.
Does Gluten Cause Weight Gain for Everyone?
As for the hundreds of millions of people without gluten sensitivity, is there a direct link between eating gluten and weight gain? In short, no. There’s no reason to believe that gluten should cause weight gain for those with no known sensitivity to it.
Although, there are a few factors to consider here:
Gluten Sensitivity May Be More Prevalent
Some experts estimate that as many as 50 percent of people might be sensitive to gluten. And while weight gain isn’t always a symptom of gluten sensitivity, it could be worth looking into if you struggle with losing weight and aren’t sure why.
Gluten May Not Be to Blame
A key problem with blaming gluten for weight gain is that there is no accepted test for gluten sensitivity. Instead, a diagnosis usually follows a process of elimination. But with no way of determining a definite gluten sensitivity, it could just as easily be another structure in certain grains we don’t yet know about that causes symptoms such as weight gain.
Cutting Out Gluten Doesn’t Always Lead to Weight Loss
Another factor to bear in mind is that high-gluten foods, such as baked goods, cereal, and beer, tend to be high in refined sugars, fats, and artificial ingredients. Replace these foods with legumes, vegetables, and lean proteins as part of a gluten-free diet and it’s not hard to see why you might end up losing weight.
Many people, however, make the mistake of assuming that switching to gluten-free products automatically leads to weight loss. Remember, a cookie is still full of sugar, fat, and calories, whether it’s gluten-free or not.
Understanding the Link Between Gluten and Weight Gain
If you’ve ever wondered, “does gluten cause weight gain?”, you should now feel a lot more informed about the issue.
In reality, there are often a lot of different factors at play. These include whether or not you’re gluten-sensitive, if gluten is even to blame for the symptoms attributed to gluten sensitivity, and, above all, the type of diet you follow.
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