Sunday, February 26, 2012

Why am I gaining so much weight on a gluten free diet?

While many people may believe they have gluten intolerance ( and many that have been on The Plan have realized they don't) gluten free products can be just as problematic. The alternate grains used are often reactive and will continue to affect digestion and weight in a negative fashion.

A big player in gluten free bread is tapioca. Tapioca is highly inflammatory according to nutrition data from Self Magazine and has a glycemic index of 94. Now when you consider that our daily intake should be 100 you can see why weight gain can be a problem if this is the major ingredient!

Potato starch comes from the Nightshade family widely known for it's inflammatory properties. It has been linked to various disorders such as arthritis, eczema, psoriasis and fibromyalgia. We know that when foods trigger inflammatory diseases an uptick on the scale always follows. In fact, it's the starch of the potato that causes the most weight gain!

Our work on The Plan has found quinoa to be 60% reactive. Teff which is often used as well will most likely fall under the same category of inflammation. Why is this? The body is pretty amazing is streamlining operations. If a grain isn't around for a few thousand years the body will often lose the enzymes to break it down. Please consider this before jumping on the latest ancient grain bandwagon. The body also responds best to what has been part of your genetic past- teff is from Ethiopia and quinoa from the Andes- naturally if you are from either of these regions you have a better chance of digesting these grains. Please make sure to rinse quinoa thoroughly; the saponins in quinoa can cause eye and respiratory issues as well as GI distress.

Xanthan gum which is a thickening agent is often used and it is high in purines which affects uric acid levels and this can aggravate pain and inflammation. This is especially noted for people with gout.
Corn has been 80% reactive with my clients and it is often GMO modified. Even if you buy organic corn, GMO may still be a problem. Experts fear that cross pollination has already begun with GMO corn as the pollen grains are among the largest and heaviest of wind-pollinated plants. I often see clients gain a pound from the simple pleasure of a summer corn on the cob.

So what does this mean if you can't tolerate gluten? That you shouldn't have any sort of bread at all? That's not the purpose of this information - really I'm not here to torture you! What I DO want you to know is that if you find your body is not responding the way it should then GF might be the problem. Try to avoid having daily ingestion of these products and give your body a chance to rest and decrease inflammatory response. We have found rice flour to be the most easily digested; when looking at labels make sure that this is the primary ingredient. It's also important to remember that just because something is pro-inflammatory for a certain population, does NOT mean it's going to be a problem for you. Just listen to your body- it will tell you everything you need to know.