Gluten consumption and Weight-loss

and yes…hard to improve your health!

Sometimes, skipping meals, trying out new diets, dealing with emotional eating, stopping snacking throughout the day, or increasing your physical activity can help you start losing weight. But most of the time, when you do lose weight, they are all back in few weeks or months. Does this sound familiar? Sometimes, no matter what you do or how hard you try, it simply seems impossible to lose weight and keep it off. If this has been happening to you, it is time to check for gluten sensitivity. Yes, wheat can be in your way of losing weight.

What is the problem with gluten?

According to Dr. Fasano, director of the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research, gluten sensitivity affects 6% of the population. It may not sound like much but it corresponds to about 18 million Americans. Many health experts agree that wheat allergies are the source of many people’s health problems but they just don’t know it.  In fact, there are substantial collaborative studies that see the rise in autoimmune diseases, irritable bowel syndrome and many other health problems that are caused by gluten sensitivity but they are misdiagnosed, so the number could be even higher.

Gluten is a protein composite found in some grains, like wheat, barley, spelt, bulgur, kamut and rye [1]. Most common: wheat. Gluten gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and it gives the final products a chewy texture [1]. Wheat has become more than a staple at family meals. Gluten is found in many products like cosmetics, hair products and other dermatological preparations. Gluten is also used in many processed foods as an addictive.  But is it healthy?

Dr. William Davis, a Cardiologist from Wisconsin, says that wheat has a “drug like” toxic effects on our body. Opioid peptides found in wheat products make them very addictive and, obviously, these food addictions and illnesses caused by wheat only benefits food producers and conventional medicine.  Because wheat affects the brain in the same way as morphine and with the glucose-insulin cycle that wheat generates wheat is considered an appetite stimulant. Causing generations of insulin resistant people, higher obesity rates, sickness rising and an industry that will prosper with people eating way over 100 pounds of wheat per year [2].

According to National Institutes of Health, researchers showed that gluten-derived polypeptides can cross into the brain and bind to the brain’s opiate receptors. This is a super drug that it can cause mild euphoria, which is what creates an addiction, and brings on binge eating. To make worst, getting off wheat products can have drug-like negative side effects that make losing weight difficult because of this addiction to wheat products.

Most common symptoms of gluten intolerance are: abdominal pain, bloating and gas, irritability, skin rash, diarrhea, anemia and fatigue. Once gluten containing grains are eliminated from the diet and the symptoms gone – weight-loss and weight management can be achieved easier.

Gluten sensitivity can lead to Celiac Disease. If this autoimmune disease is not treated properly it can lead to malnutrition because the small intestine is not able to absorb the nutrients due to the damaged villi. Villi are tiny, hair-like tentacles on the lining of the small intestine. When someone that has the celiac disease consumes foods containing gluten, the body reacts by attacking the intestinal villi and, eventually, they can become completely flattened, leaving them unable to do their job of absorbing nutrients[3].

If your body is not able to assimilate the nutrients from food, your body’s ability to cleanse itself from impurities and stored toxins are going to be weaker and losing weight difficult.

Leptin – is an important hormone involved in sending a signal of satiety to your brain, indicating to your body that you have eaten enough. Leptin contributes to a healthy body weight by keeping your hunger and satiety in check. However, it was found that overweight and obese people have leptin resistance, which means that although their leptin levels are high, their cells are resistant and do not register the satiety signals [4].

According to a study by Swedish and Danish researchers published in Dec.2005 issue of “BMC Endocrine Disorders”: Grains, especially the gluten containing ones, are thought to contribute to leptin resistance and therefore weight gain and obesity happens. If the brain is not able to receive these satiety signals the person tends to overeat.

Also, many gluten-containing foods have a high glycemic load more than any other carbohydrate, from beans to candy, with that your blood sugar level rises. Your pancreas responds with insulin, which pulls that blood sugar down. Sometimes too far down that leads to cravings. When you constantly eat gluten foods, your cells become overloaded with insulin and eventually stop “hearing” its message to store glucose. Insulin resistance then happens, which closes the doors to your fat cells and makes fat loss nearly impossible [2].

Insulin is the hormone that allows entry of glucose into the cells of the body, converting the glucose to fat. The higher the blood glucose is after consumption of food – the greater the insulin level, the more fat is deposited [2].

What has happened to wheat anyways?

“Modern” wheat has been changed over the years through genetic manipulation and hybridization which has turned it into a chemical solution. It also has too much gluten for the human body and has contributed to everything from obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia, depression and more [5].

Farmers are getting rid of specific “natural” wheat traits and mixing non-wheat plants to introduce entirely unique genes. Chemicals are used to induce mutations that can be propagated in the offspring. Then seeds are exposed to the industrial chemical sodium azide which is highly toxic to humans [5].

According to Dr. Mark Hyman this new hybrid (dwarf) wheat contains excessive levels of the “super starch”: Amylopectin. It also contains “super gluten” a chemical capable of setting off body-wide inflammation. Inflammation creates a number of problems that stall fat loss, including increased levels of your stress hormone cortisol, increased fluid retention, digestive issues, and feeling sluggish so you’re more likely to lie on the couch than burn fat exercising.

The best way to find out whether a gluten-free diet could help you to lose weight or improve your health is to give it a try for a period of 4 to 8 weeks. Eliminate all sources of gluten from your diet. Increase fruits and green vegetables. After your gluten-free trial period, you will be able to determine whether this diet could help you reach your desired weight. According to Dr. William Davis, author of Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health: Eliminating gluten helps you burn fat. “Lose the wheat, lose the weight”[2].

Elisangela Young, CNHP, CHNP


–          [1] Wikipedia: gluten

–          [2] Dr. William Davis, MD, author of Wheat Belly.

–          [3] By Jane Anderson. Untreated Celiac Disease Can Cause Malnutrition – Intestinal Damage Stops Absorption of Nutrients.

–          [4] gluten intolerance. Losing weight. – University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center: weight gain in adults / National Institute of  Health: Celiac Disease / Celiac Disease.

–          [5] How wheat is slowly killing millions of people.

–          Basciano H, et al. Fructose, insulin resistance, and metabolic dyslipidemia. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2005 Feb 21;2(1):5.

–          Jönsson T, et al. Agrarian diet and diseases of affluence–do evolutionary novel dietary lectins cause leptin resistance? BMC Endocr Disord. 2005 Dec 10;5:10.