Are Gluten-Free Foods Making You Fat?

Are Gluten-Free Foods Making You Fat?
Are Gluten-Free Foods Making You Fat?

Are Gluten-Free Foods Making You Fat?

Yes. Yes, they are.

This weekend the Celiac Awareness Tour cancelled the day before the event, leaving me with a prepaid hotel room in Philly for the weekend.

Aaron and I decided to go to the city anyway and use it as a little getaway for us. Jennifer Fugo from Gluten Free School and I decided to meet up anyway since we weren’t speaking at the event anymore.

She told me about the cool things she does over at her website and all the research she’s done on sugar and gluten-free, which really got me thinking….

While it’s wonderful that companies are coming out with more gluten-free options and versions of foods we used to love, we still don’t need them. Gluten-free snack foods are usually higher in calories and fat along with lower in fiber. They are the ultimate empty calorie. Most of the products labeled  gluten-free are equally as bad for us as those products we loved filled with gluten.

As a fitness expert, I see this every day. Clients come to me wanting to know why they aren’t seeing results despite cutting calories and then go on to tell me they substitute regular junk food with low-calorie junk food. Snacks from Weight Watchers and Skinny Cow always seem to pop into the conversation. These products provide no nutritional value for your body. “Weight loss” snacks are FILLED with chemicals and processed junk which does nothing nutritionally for you, despite the marketing claims on their boxes.

Once you’re diagnosed with celiac disease, it is a tremendous life change. You struggle enough with just figuring it out along with all the emotional turmoil from the disease and health complications. You just want life to be easy. The problem is that easy in this area makes you gain weight. All those “easy” gluten-free foods are horrible for our waist line. Pancakes are bad for you filled with gluten and gluten-free. Just because it doesn’t make our auto-immune system go insane, it still isn’t the best option for us. Those products can be just as difficult to digest and cause other problems like inflammation aggravation.

Aren’t you sick of the high prices of this junk anyway? Don’t you want to eat for fuel and for happiness than instant gratification?

I’m getting ready to put together some awesome celiac fitness programming but please know we are going back to the basics on it!

Foods filled with nutrition should be priority for us, especially as we are trying to heal our bodies. Think about using the 80/20 rule for this. 80% of the time, eat foods that are nutritionally sound and make your body happy. Use the other 20% to indulge on something worth while like a great piece of gluten-free cake, a sundae, wine or whatever is your guilty pleasure. I recommend this to all my fitness clients at Bexa Body Fitness. That is how I lost my weight before and how I’ve started to do it again.

Twenty pounds later, I realized I consumed entirely too many snack foods throughout the week. I did a much better job tracking my food throughout the week and paying attention to when I had snack/junk foods. This helped me see eating patterns as well. One of my favorite tracking apps is My Net Diary. I use it on my iPhone to track my foods and fitness. There are a million apps out there, but I just found this one to work. I believe in moderation and enjoying your life. I’m don’t believe in fad diets or extreme weight loss programs. If you can’t have some things every once in a while, you are less likely to be successful.

If you try this and still aren’t losing weight – A few things could be happening –

1. Your hormones are off.
2. You’re not managing your vitamin deficiencies properly.
3. You aren’t writing down everything you eat and tracking it correctly.
4. You may have other health complications.

You are probably saying to yourself right now, so what the heck am I supposed to eat?

Well, instead of having lentil chips right now, I’m munching on some carrots. I hard boil eggs and consume them throughout the day. Nuts are a terrific snacking item. We try our best to stick with whole foods for dinner.

Here’s an example of what we eat for dinner throughout the week:

Monday: Salmon, green beans & red skin potatoes
Tuesday: Burrito bowls – rice, beans, ground beef, lettuce, avocado, peppers
Wednesday: Shrimp with rice – add veggies and use some gluten-free soy sauce in moderation
Thursday: Brisket with veggies from the slow cooker
Friday: Steak, spinach and sweet potato fries

Everything is very basic but tasty!

What’s your go to whole food meal?


Gluten-Free Diet Making you Fat? 5 Tips to Shed the Pounds


We’ve all seen the articles recently talking about “gluten-free diets” and how the media has hyped up the gluten-free industry making others believe it is a fad diet like the Atkins or South Beach. I hear people tell me they went gluten-free and lost 20 pounds or some other amount but when they actually start explaining what they were eating, it was essentially just cutting the processed foods out of their diet. They were adding in more fruits and vegetables. Taking out the breads, pastas and other gluten filled things that are poison to those of us with celiac.

This post is not meant to be a debate with people over gluten and if it is healthy or not. It’s simply one girls opinion on the foods we consume and why a gluten-free diet won’t make you lose weight. I don’t believe you need to go on a gluten-free diet. I do believe you need to go on a “remove processed foods diet.”

My personal opinion is that gluten isn’t going to kill you if your body can tolerate it. I believe there are lots of people out there that can eat a pizza and have no problems other than weight gain and excess caloric consumption. I also believe there are many people out there that struggle with gluten but brush it off by taking medications like Prilosec or Tums to avoid the real issue. I mean these drug companies are even advocating for people to take their pills before consuming junk food and proud of it! Consuming the healthier options needs to be the right choice if you are going to eat gluten. A piece of whole grain bread is certainly better than a pop tart when it comes to gluten filled foods but an apple is even better.

I am however in the group of people who believes processed foods, chemicals and other disgusting additives are giving our kids behavioral problems, starting girls on their periods at an extremely young age and adding to the horrific number of health problems in the United States. It never ceases to amaze me that we constantly have to have discussions about why this is happening to us, why we are so obese, why we suffer from so many health conditions and yet everyone is willing to sweep the real food issue under the rug.

Eating gluten-free is not a choice for me anymore. I went through the phase in the first 5 months or so when I ate the same boxed, processed gluten-free foods every day. I pretty much sustained life off of Pop Chips and Annie’s gluten-free mac and cheese. I also started to gain weight. Gluten free foods made me gain weight. No, wait – processed gluten-free foods made me gain weight.

I started eating much more whole foods towards the end of last summer. Real, whole, non processed, from the earth foods.

But I still kept gaining weight. Turns out the estrogen from the endometriosis was causing me to gain weight but in theory I should have lost weight based on what I was eating. The frustration led me to consume more packaged gluten-free snack foods. Major fail.


So, are you eating gluten-free and gaining weight or not able to lose weight? Let me give you my top 5 tips on how you can change the pattern.

1. Limit processed & packaged gluten-free foods. This is probably the biggest one of all time. Stop eating the gluntino oreos!! Just because these foods are gluten-free, doesn’t mean we can go gung ho and eat whatever gluten-free foods we want. Processed foods are just that… made from things that are made – not grown! Gluten free processed foods just come with different ingredients that aren’t great for us either, our bodies can actually digest them. Stick with meats, fruits and vegetables that are naturally gluten-free!

2. Moderation is always the key. Regardless of if you are eating gluten-free or not, moderation is the key. If you want to have a gluten-free cookie or brownie. Have 1 and move on with your day. But again, just because it’s gluten-free doesn’t mean that’s the green light to consume massive quantities. I’ve found myself saying “well, it’s ok because it’s gluten-free so I can have as many as I want.” This couldn’t be further from the truth.

3. Watch salt intake and hidden calories from sauces and marinades. Salt makes us bloat. Salt makes us retain water. Salt affects our blood pressure. Aaron and I went on the DASH diet a while back and now we can barely handle a meal at Chipotle without looking pregnant afterwards.

4. Be cautious of empty calories. The gluten-free foods often contain a higher calorie and fat count than regular foods so when you add into that empty calories from sodas, desserts and alcohol, it can add up much faster than you would imagine.

5. Stop cheating on the gluten-free lifestyle. That seesaw effect of gluten – no gluten can really take a toll on your body and not just with your stomach. It affects your brain chemistry, hormones along with organs and digestive system.

BONUS TIP: Exercise – start moving 30 minutes a day for 4-5 days per week.

If you try all these things and the weight still isn’t coming off, I would encourage you to go and get checked by your doctor. Have a full blood count and panel done, check your thyroid, check your hormone levels (guys testosterone too!) and talk to your doctor about any other symptoms you continue to have despite eating gluten-free.

A strict gluten-free diet should take care of celiac disease. If you are still having problems, it is likely there are other things going on that need medical attention, like me with the endometriosis.