Can Gluten Make You Fat?

You have undoubtedly wondered what is so wrong with gluten, when you see all of these products touting that they are gluten free. Many people think that gluten is only a problem for people with Celiac disease or other adverse reactions or allergies to gluten, but could it be a problem for you as well?

What Is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein that is found in most wheat based products. It is a strong protein that gives bread it’s rise and pizza dough it’s chewy, stretchy texture. You know the delicious, warm bread that comes in the basket at a restaurant? It tastes best when it’s soft on the inside and has a crunchy crust, right?  That soft, chewy center is because it contains gluten.

Those strong protein bonds make it clear why people with gluten intolerance should stay away from gluten products. Those strong bonds are difficult to break during digestion.

Can Gluten Make You Fat?

Some people, even those who do not have a documented allergy or gluten resistance, react badly to gluten when they eat it. Their reaction, however, is an increased desire to eat, and a desire to eat more gluten rich products, like breads, desserts, candies, breakfast cereals and pastas. And, too much of these can make you fat. These foods are high in sugar and not exactly low calorie options. Too many calories equals extra weight!

In many cases, it is likely not the gluten that would make a person fat. It’s the over-consumption of high calorie foods like french bread and pasta that would. Many people simply have a mental reaction to those foods. They eat a piece of candy and want another. They have a slice of pizza and crave pizza the next day.

Gluten Intolerance and Weight Gain

On the other hand, if you have Celiac disease, gluten allergy or even minor gluten intolerance, you could suffer from some of the side effects of eating gluten. You may suffer from thyroid imbalance, slowed metabolism, fatigue and blood sugar swings, all which tend to cause people to eat. Some studies suggest that people with gluten intolerance actually crave gluten rich foods.

Intolerance will trigger inflammation, which in turn, will cause your body to produce the hormone cortisol, known as the stress hormone. This hormone is associated with a higher production of abdominal fat. Cortisol also promotes overeating, hence why people react to stress by turning to food.

So, does gluten make you fat?  Maybe not directly, but it could certainly start the chain reaction that does.


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