At home I consume a mostly gluten-free diet. My older son has a serious wheat allergy and I have come to prefer the gluten-free foods, while my husband and younger child still eat a diet that contains gluten.
However, it is difficult to resist the pasta, bread and dessert when out at a restaurant; particularly an Italian restaurant. Last Friday I attended a party with tons of delicious Italian food. That night I probably consumed two days worth of calories, including much more gluten than usual. Having consumed so much food, I should have been full for the next day or two, right? Nope. The next morning I woke with unusual hunger, as if I had not eaten dinner at all. It was not the first (or second) time that has happened, either. That is why I am convinced that gluten makes me feel hungrier. Of course, I have no scientific evidence to back that up. It is about my body and the pattern.
There are lots of different reasons why people go gluten-free, and not all of them are due to a wheat allergy or to Celiac disease. As a result, the gluten-free market is growing rapidly, expected to reach $6.6 billion in annual sales by 2017.
People have seen changes in as little as a few weeks while others have needed more time. As for me, I do not think that I am gluten intolerant but I do feel less hungry when gluten is out of my diet.
Not sure whether going gluten-free is right for you? Here are a few reasons why people have given a gluten-free diet a try. And of course, you can always speak with a doctor or nutritionist before making changes to your lifestyle.
Is a gluten-free diet right for you? 1 of 9
Consuming fewer calories. 2 of 9
Like I mentioned, I am hungrier faster after I eat a meal with gluten than a gluten-free meal. This certainly may not be the case for everyone, but it is a clear pattern for me. Plus, fewer calories consumed means fewer calories need to be burned to maintain a stable weight.
Losing weight. 3 of 9
Lots of today's diets and food lifestyles either reduce or eliminate gluten. Those who follow a clean eating regimen or the Paleo diet are an example of that. Just be careful not to replace gluten with more fat and calories. Consider replacing a gluten filled food with a gluten-free version or with a lean protein, vegetable or fruit instead.
Getting a flatter stomach. 4 of 9
Have you ever finished a really big meal and felt your belly expand? Many advocates of a gluten-free diet feel that eliminating gluten also helps reduce bloating.
Increasing focus. 5 of 9
Improving athletic performance. 6 of 9
Lots of cross-fit devotees and hardcore athletes are going gluten-free to increase their competitive edge. Several athletes who represented the United States in the 2012 Olympics are gluten-free. These converts are convinced that the switch to gluten-free is a factor in their success, either by helping to improve energy levels and endurance, or by reducing joint pain.
Having fewer headaches. 7 of 9
I have heard that for some people who suffer from severe recurrent headaches, reducing or eliminating gluten can be helpful. A small scale study published by the American Academy of Neurology also found that reducing gluten may be helpful for headache sufferers.
Having fewer stomach pains. 8 of 9
I have two friends who found that when they cut gluten from their diet, their meals were not running right through them, so to speak. If you have issues with your stomach, you might want to consider whether gluten might be the issue.
Going with the trend. 9 of 9
Let's face it. Gluten-free is trendy. Some people have no idea what a gluten-free diet will do for them but they are following along in case it might be beneficial. (Does that mean it's right for you? Only you can be the judge of that one.) This sometimes makes it difficult for those with a wheat allergy or Celiac disease to be taken seriously, but it sure is happy news for makers of gluten-free foods.
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