Something you may have noticed in more restaurants, stores, and on the labels of your food is the term “gluten-free!” Always like a proud exclamation of accomplishment.
Here’s the thing, though. A lot of people don’t even know what gluten is (in fact, here’s a video of gluten-free people not knowing.) And yet, it’s all the rage to be on a gluten-free diet right now. So, let’s talk about gluten and why everyone’s got it wrong.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein that is found in natural grains such as wheat, barley and rye. That means that food such as bread, pasta, or even beers contain gluten. If it’s got flour, it’s probably got gluten.
A great substitute for gluten products are things such as corn, potatoes and rice, but cross-contamination can still be an issue, so you need to be careful to read any labels. And gluten is found in things you wouldn’t expect, either, like soy sauce and salad dressings! The truth is that a lot of people who claim gluten free diets don’t know the extent of what they’re avoiding, and in the end consume it without realizing.
Some people have a medical reason for avoiding gluten. These are people diagnosed with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, which can only be treated with a gluten free diet because their bodies are unable to properly digest the protein and it hurts their digestive tract. People with these gluten disorders can suffer from malnutrition, bone weakening, joint pain and many other symptoms that vary from person to person.
Misconceptions About Gluten
Now we know what gluten is in a broad stroke of the term, let’s break down some misconceptions.
Not eating gluten will make me healthier.
Actually, that’s not true. Unless a professional has diagnosed you with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, you don’t need to be avoiding gluten. There is no evidence that gluten free diets are healthier for people without gluten disorders, it’s just like any other food in that it’s what you’re eating that matters.
But gluten makes you fat.
So, this is an interesting misconception because it’s the opposite of what’s true. Gluten free food is actually higher in calories and fat to make up for the missing ingredients, and lower in vitamins and fiber. If you find yourself snacking on a lot of gluten free muffins you’re not going to lose weight. It’s all about the content of what you’re eating, so instead of going for gluten free breads and desserts, go for fruits and veggies.
Doesn’t gluten make you tired?
Again, there’s research going on about this, but the only people gluten affects in a negative way are those with gluten disorders. So, if you find yourself fatigued or sick after eating gluten, you should speak to a doctor, but this is not a normal aspect of a gluten filled diet.
Then how will I lose weight?
Exercise! So many people rely on fad diets to help them lose weight, when a lifestyle change is what really trumps any diet. By creating a regular workout routine you set your body up for some great fat loss, and yes, a healthy diet will help with this, but only if you make the correct dietary choices instead of jumping into something with no research.
That’s why at Fit Body Boot Camp we do intense 30-minute workouts that will burn fat for hours after thanks to the science of “The Afterburn.” And, we’re here to help you with your diet as well. As long as you make a lifestyle change and follow the lead of your FBBC trainer, you don’t need to fear things like gluten and you’ll be set to begin making healthy choices for life.
Why People with Gluten Disorders Need Exercise
If you’re reading this and you do have celiac, then don’t think this isn’t for you too. Exercise is very important for those with gluten disorders as it helps with weight control, bone health and nutrition. You understand what happens to a person’s body when they eat gluten and their body can’t handle it, which is exactly why you shouldn’t be avoiding boot camps.
Celiac disease causes malabsorption because of the damage done to the intestinal lining while trying to digest gluten. This usually causes weight loss, but some people do suffer from weight gain and bloating. Exercise helps to maintain a healthy weight in either of these situations as you burn fat and build up muscle.
Osteoporosis and osteopenia are very real issues faced as well because of the digestive tract damage. Working out helps with remodeling the bones in order to help support your muscles and organs more securely. Regular exercise also can help stop the weakening of the bones, though it can’t reverse it.
Being gluten free when it’s not a choice can become extremely frustrating. You want to go out with friends, but you can’t eat anything, and sometimes those looks of sympathy become hard to deal with daily. Exercise has been found to release endorphins, which help lift your mood, and during the workouts you’ll be able to relieve some of that frustration as well.
Exercising also promotes better nutrition overall in a person’s life. When you’re going out and burning fat for 30 minutes at boot camp, you’re less inclined to go home and immediately eat greasy foods. It’s important to eat the correct things before and after working out, and people with gluten disorders need to be especially vigilant on that front because of the smaller amounts of vitamins and nutrients in much of their food.
Diets shouldn’t be relied on, whether gluten free or otherwise. The only thing that can really help you lose weight and have more energy is a lifestyle change with intense workouts and good nutritional choices. Whether you have a food allergy or not, exercise is an important part of a healthy life, and here at Fit Body Boot Camp, we’re ready to help you take that step.