Gluten and Reduction of Calories for Non-Symptomatic People

By Katherine MacPherson BS, ACSM HFS & UVAC Personal Trainer

In an approach to discover the weight loss and health benefits for those who go gluten free, it was apparent that the major foundation of these health benefits where not only caused by going gluten free, but further directed toward the healthy food choices that came with the food style change.    Some major reasons why people who aren’t suffering from any medical condition that would conflict their digestion of gluten go gluten free is because it has been thought to decrease stomach bloating, improve fatigue, and aid in weight loss.  Going gluten-free may make those changes happen but an evident contributor to the weight-loss aspect will be the reduction of calories that come from the gluten-based food items.  Baked goods, breads, and other heavy gluten products like pastas are generally high in calories, emptied in nutrient values and are readily stored in the body as fat.  It is no wonder that those who skip the gluten avoid the foods that are also making them fat.


Don’t be fooled when people say they lost “X” amount of weight because they went gluten free.  Usually when they go gluten free they also make other choices such as exercising more regularly, reducing caloric intake (due in part to choosing gluten free food sources with fewer calories).  If you take someone who eats a bowl of oatmeal (2 packs 300 calories), a sandwich (the bread alone is 200 calories or more), and pasta (a medium sized bowl is about 400 calories, without meatballs, sauce, or cheese) and have them make healthier choices, especially while adding in regular exercise, they are bound to lose weight. 
Gluten is: a protein source that is found in food created from wheat and related grains such as rye and barely.  Those who suffer from gastric issues, such as coeliac disease, or inflammatory bowel syndrome for an example, follow a gluten-free life style to reduce the cases of stomachache, fatigue, muscle pain, joint pain, and many other health related problems.
Let’s compare these two dinner dishes:
Olive Garden’s Fettuccine Alfredo Dish             
Calories: 1220                                                             
75 grams of fat                                                                 
Carbs: 99 grams



Home-made fresh salad topped with chicken & veggies
Calories start at 220
Total Fat around 8 grams
 Gluten Free

Avoiding gluten:
If any of these items are in your food or drinks ingredient, there a major chance it contains gluten:
Rye, triticale (wheat and rye crossed), wheat, barley (malt flavoring, malt vinegar made from barely, and malt), spelt, bulgar, Farina, kamut
Avoid the following if not labeled GF (gluten-free):   
Breads, Beer, Cookies, Cakes and Pies, Crackers, French Fries, Croutons, Pastas, Salad Dressings, Soups,
The best GF resources:
Fresh eggs, Fresh meats, poultry, fish, fruit, veggie, beans, unprocessed nuts, seeds
Grains that are GF:
Amaranth, arrowroot, corn and cornmeal, buckwheat, flax, millet, quinoa, GF flours such as soy, corn, bean, rice, soy, tapioca, teff.  


With the food items above, let’s compare the differences from those that are gluten based or GF
Gluten Items:


§  French Fries: 1 serving size, 271 calories, 14.5 grams of fat, and 31.9 grams of carbs


§  Whole grain bread: 1 slice serving size, 90 calories, 16 grams of carbs


§  Pasta: (Spaghetti) 1 cup=1 serving size, 221 calories, 43.2 carbs


Non-Gluten Items:


§  Blueberries: ½ cup = 1 serving size, 84 calories, 0 grams of fat, 21 grams of carbs


§  Grilled chicken breast: 1 breast= 1 serving size, 120 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of carbs


§  Hardboiled egg: 1 egg = 1 serving size: 70 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 1 gram of carb


HOWEVER! Just because a food item says its gluten free, doesn’t mean it’s going to be “healthy” for you.  Some examples:
GF potato chips
GF Chocolate syrups
GF Ice creams
GF Frozen pizzas
In conclusion to losing weight and going gluten free, the likelihood of actually losing weight will happen if your diet changes are efficient.   Letting go of the food items that contain high volumes of fats, gluten and simple carbohydrates will dramatically elicit a healthier food intake.  That being said, it is still important to understand portion control.  When trying to lose weight, it is very important to know your BMR (basal metabolic rate.)  Your BMR is the amount of calories you need to stay alive each day.  It is important to determine your rate so you can better control how many calories you need to lose weight at a healthy pace.  To learn more about counting calories, healthy meal planning and figuring out your BMR, please contact a UVAC Personal Trainer at 802-296-2850 X 104.


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