A friend of mine asked me the other day, “So, if I quit eating gluten, can I lose some weight?” Well, that’s a tricky question. Yes, you can lose some weight if your previous eating habits have led you to eat mostly processed foods or if you ate a lot of dairy foods that tend to be high in fat and calories. However, just getting rid of gluten doesn’t always equal weight loss. Here are some quick facts –
1. Processed Foods – Unfortunately, the majority of Americans see this as the easy choice when it comes to meal preparation. They grab the frozen dinner, the chicken nuggets, or fish sticks and just “heat and eat”! Well, by eliminating the majority of these foods, you will not be filling yourself with empty calories (like from the breading on nuggets and fish sticks), but instead you will fill yourself up with fruits and vegetables that have more vitamins, minerals, fiber, and yet are much lower in calories.
2. Eating Out – because it is challenging to find restaurants that cater to a GFCF diet, you will eat out less and will definitely be skipping most fast food restaurants! (My son now exclaims, “Gross, they have too much gluten!” every time we drive by McDonald’s. I smile when he says that, knowing he is internalizing this healthier way of eating.)
3. Spending Money on What Matters Most – yes, you can buy many “gluten-free, dairy-free” products at most grocery stores now. But, they are still very expensive and will cause you to think twice about downing a box of cookies or crackers in one sitting! Plus, as you become more confident in the kitchen, you will want to make your own foods and can control the sugar and calories much better.
4. When You Feel Better, You Move More – if you physically feel more alert and energetic, you will want to go for walks, play tennis, or go for a bike ride. Feeling healthy automatically begets more healthy choices and I’ve yet to meet someone who is eating a GFCF diet that is sedentary. You just feel too good not to move!
5. You Realize What Real Food Tastes Like – before going GFCF, I had become pretty complacent in what I chose to eat. Now that I’m having to search out new recipes and find new ways to prepare fruits and vegetables, I’m finding that I actually enjoy eating. It’s fun to find a new way to prepare green beans or carrots, rather than simply be content to have a salad at dinner every night.
In closing, yes – you can lose weight by cutting out dairy and gluten from your diet. It’s just not a guarantee. But, I feel confident in guaranteeing that you will feel more energetic, more clearheaded, and happier about what you are eating if you give this diet a try!