I pleased to welcome Nicolette M. Dumke, author of Food Allergy and Gluten-Free Weight Loss: Control Your Body Chemistry, Reduce Inflammation and Improve Your Health, to Peeking Between the Pages today. I don’t have any weight to lose anymore but I definitely want to keep the one I’ve lost off and my doctor has wanted me on a gluten-free diet for ages so this topic is very interesting to me. I was glad when Nicolette agreed to write a guest post on this topic. I hope you’ll find her post How to Lose Weight on a Gluten-Free Diet interesting and informative. Enjoy and be sure to check out the giveaway at the end of the post…
Overweight among people on gluten-free diets is a very common problem, according to a University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center report on a study of 188 patients on gluten-free diets. Two years after starting the diet, 81% had gained weight and over 40% had a BMI (body mass index) in the “overweight” range of greater than 25. This problem is not due to a lack of discipline among gluten-free dieters but rather is caused by the nature of the standard American gluten-free diet. Health food stores and food manufacturers, seeing a new market, have provided gluten-free versions of breads, cookies, snacks, and almost everything one could want made with rice (or usually at least part rice if, for example, the bread is labeled as flax bread or millet bread).
Rice is the only grain high on the glycemic index in its whole grain form. (For more about the glycemic index (GI) and how it can help with weight loss, see this page: http://www.foodallergyandglutenfreeweightloss.com/glycemic_index.html). Thus, eating rice products has a far greater impact on blood sugar and insulin levels than eating wheat. (Why this causes weight problems is discussed below). Furthermore, rice produces denser baked goods, so a visually normal-sized slice of rice bread may contain three times the carbohydrate level as the same size slice of wheat bread. In addition, rice is bland-tasting, so commercially prepared rice-containing foods usually are made with more fat and sugar than their wheat-containing counterparts to improve their flavor.
Many individuals in the gluten-free community have sensitivities or allergies to other foods which also can lead to weight problems. Allergies promote overweight by causing allergic cravings or food addiction. In addition, the inflammation caused by allergic reactions causes a release of adrenal hormones which start a hormonal cascade leading to food being deposited as fat. Inflammation also inactivates leptin, the body’s master hormone for maintaining a healthy weight. For more about how allergies and gluten intolerance contribute to overweight, see this page: http://www.foodallergyandglutenfreeweightloss.com/why_are_we_overweight.html.
Another problem that a person with gluten intolerance or food allergies will encounter when searching for a way to lose weight is that weight loss diets are designed for “normal” people. Their lists of prescribed foods may not intersect with the requirements of a gluten-free or food allergy diet in a way that is easy to follow or that provides adequate nutrition.
However, the good news for gluten-free dieters is that you have a head start on choosing a weight loss program that will succeed! Most diets that are unsuitable for you are based on faulty assumptions and will not provide easy or permanent weight loss for even “normal” people because they work against our bodies rather than working with them. You can use your ability to listen to your body, which you may have learned from your special diet, to your advantage in losing weight.
The most significant faulty assumption underlying conventional diets is that weight loss is determined by the number of calories consumed minus the number burned by physical activity. Although calories do have an effect, they are not the primary determining factor in how much we weigh. Our hormones, such as insulin, cortisol, leptin and others, are what really determine our weight. If your hormones are saying, “Deposit that food! A famine is in the land!” you will not be able to lose weight even if the number of calories you consume is very low. Because they work against body chemistry, calorie-counting diets rarely result in permanent weight loss. After dieters reach their goal, they usually re-gain most or all of the weight they lost. They may even be heavier than before they started; if they lost muscle mass, their metabolic rate will be lower than before their diet.
The key to losing weight easily and without hunger is to keep your body in a “burn fat” mode by keeping your blood sugar level stable and your insulin level low and stable. This can be achieved by eating protein-containing breakfasts and small between-meal snacks and by keeping carbohydrate intake at a sensible level with most of the carbohydrates low to moderate on the glycemic index. (Low to moderate GI carbohydrates do not promote dramatic swings in blood sugar and insulin levels). Carbohydrates should be eaten with protein. For more details about how to balance carbohydrates with protein for stable insulin and blood sugar levels, see the third paragraph of this page: http://www.foodallergyandglutenfreeweightloss.com/carbohydrate_foods.html.
Keeping insulin levels low and stable most or all of the time is crucial to weight loss because insulin levels regulate the activity of two enzymes that control fat metabolism. High insulin activates an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase. This enzyme catalyzes the production of triglycerides from any fatty acids (digested fat units in the form that is absorbed by the intestine) eaten in a meal. Thus, excess insulin promotes storage of fat we eat by our fat cells rather than using it for fuel after a meal. In a person with normal insulin levels, any recently eaten fats could have been used for energy during the two hours after a meal. If insulin levels are high, dietary fat will be stored in the fat cells instead. In addition, high insulin levels in the blood inhibit the activity of the enzyme triglyceride lipase which breaks down stored fat for use as energy. Thus, if you have chronically high insulin, you cannot burn your own body fat!
Thankfully, there are many gluten-free foods that are excellent choices for an eating plan that controls blood sugar and insulin levels. Here are some suggestions:
(1) Grains and bread-type foods: You may fear that you will be deprived of these types of foods, but that is untrue – there are many less common gluten-free foods waiting for you to discover them. Skip the rice! Instead eat higher-protein grain alternatives such as amaranth, quinoa, and buckwheat. These grains can be cooked whole, and the flours made from them produce delicious breads, crackers, muffins, cookies and desserts. Yes, you can have desserts in moderation and balanced with protein. Because you will be baking these foods for yourself, you can also skip the sugar and use healthy low-GI sweeteners such as fruit sweeteners and agave or the herbal sweetener stevia. For recipes and instructions for baking with these grain alternatives, see Food Allergy and Gluten-Free Weight Loss. Be sure to eat these foods at the same time as protein as discussed above.
(2) Protein foods: Eat meat, poultry, fish, legumes, and, if your allergies allow, dairy products and nuts. You don’t have to have plain chicken or fish and unadorned vegetables every night! Meals can be prepared creatively, and red meats are not restricted as they may have been on other diets you tried in the past. See the recipes in Food Allergy and Gluten-Free Weight Loss for everything from breakfast burritos (including egg-free options) and garbanzo dip or lentil spread that can be served with crackers or crudités for snacks to interesting entrées such as enchiladas, turkey picatta, stroganoff, and pizza.
(3) Fruits and vegetables: These can be eaten raw or prepared in creative ways. The fiber, vitamins, and phytonutrients they provide promote good health and weight loss.
(4) Fats are not only acceptable to eat but are essential for controlling inflammation and providing satiety after meals and snacks so hunger levels stay in line with the actual need for food.
For everyone, not just those on gluten-free diets, hormones rule when it comes to weight loss! To lose weigh successfully and permanently, discard all the faulty assumptions you’ve heard about weight in the past, and embrace the pursuit of real health and hormonal control by understanding how to work with your body to control your weight as well as manage your gluten-intolerance or food allergies. You will be amazed at how easy weight loss can be, even on a gluten-free diet.
About Food Allergy and Gluten-Free Weight Loss
Food Allergy and Gluten-Free Weight Loss answers the question, “Why is it so hard to lose weight?” Because it’s hard to put a puzzle together if you’re missing some of the pieces. We’ve been missing or ignoring the most important pieces in the puzzle of how our bodies determine whether to store or burn fat. Those puzzle pieces are hormones such as insulin, cortisol, leptin, and others.
In addition, we’ve been given some puzzle pieces that don’t belong or fit in the weight-control puzzle. Much of what we’ve heard about dieting and exercise is incorrect and can cause loss of muscle mass instead of fat or even result in weight gain. The idea that weight is determined solely by “calories in minus calories out” is an assumption not based in reality. Most weight-loss diets require us to endure hunger much of the time, but hunger means that our blood sugar is falling or low and our insulin level may be rising. Prolonged hunger leads to the release of adrenal hormones, and the hormonal cascade which follows results in the inability to burn our own body fat as well as causing any fat we eat to be stored rather than burned to give us energy.
Another problem with most weight loss diets is that they strictly dictate food choices, lack the flexibility that those on special diets for food allergies or gluten-intolerance require, and deprive us of pleasure. Individuals with food allergies face additional weight-loss challenges such as inflammation due to allergies which can lead to our master weight control hormone, leptin, being unable to do its job of maintaining a healthy weight. Those with gluten intolerance often eat a diet too high rice. Rice is the only grain which is high on the glycemic index in its whole grain form; thus eating too much of it will raise insulin levels and cause the body to deposit fat. Although the recipes in this book were developed for those on special diets, non-sensitive people will enjoy them as well, and the weight loss principles in this book will help anyone lose weight. (A chapter of recipes made with wheat and other problematic foods is included for those on unrestricted diets).
The most frustrating deficiency of conventional weight loss diets is that they don’t work long-term. Low-calorie, low-fat diets can lead to loss of muscle mass, and with less muscle to burn calories, this type of diet effectively reduces metabolic rate so we need less food. Rare is the person who loses weight by counting calories and keeps it off after they liberalize their diet! However, continual dieting for the rest of your life is not the way you need to live, and you do not have to be deprived of pleasure in order to lose weight. Overweight is not due to a lack of willpower. Rather, it is due to a chemical imbalance in our bodies. Once we begin to correct that imbalance by applying the principles in Food Allergy and Gluten-Free Weight Loss, we can lose weight without hunger or deprivation and can maintain a healthy weight permanently and easily by regaining normal self-regulating hormonal control of our weight.
About Nicolette M. Dumke
Nickie Dumke enjoys helping people with food allergies and gluten intolerance find solutions to their health and weight problems. She began writing books to help others with multiple food allergies over 20 years ago and the process culminated in The Ultimate Food Allergy Cookbook and Survival Guide. She says, “This book contains everything I know to help with food allergies,” and it has helped many people come back from near-starvation. Her other books address issues such as how to deal with time and money pressures on special diets, keeping allergic children happy on their diets, and more.
A few years ago, while listening to the struggles of an allergic friend on the Weight Watchers™ diet, she remembered her own weight struggles* many years ago and thought, “There has to be a better way.” This was the beginning of a new quest, and she is now helping those who are overweight due to inflammation (often due to unsuspected food allergies) or high-in-rice gluten-free diets, as well as those who are not food sensitive but want to lose weight permanently, healthily, and without feeling hungry and deprived. Her unique approach to weight and health presented in Food Allergy and Gluten-Free Weight Loss is based on body physiology and reveals why conventional weight-loss diets work against rather than with our bodies and therefore rarely result in permanent weight loss.
* (Nickie’s weight loss story, briefly, is that in her early 20s she could not lose on a calorie-counting diet in spite of repeatedly further reducing the number of calories she ate and swimming vigorously and often. Then she found a diet based on blood sugar control, lost weight without being hungry, and still weighs what she did in her mid-20s).
Nickie has had multiple food allergies for 30 years and has been cooking for special diets for family members and friends for even longer. Regardless of how complex your dietary needs are or how much or little cooking you have done, she has the books and recipes you need. Her books present the science behind multiple food allergies and weight control in an easily-understood manner. She has BS degrees in medical technology and microbiology. She and her husband live in Louisville, Colorado and have two grown sons.
I have 1 copy of Food Allergy and Gluten-Free Weight Loss by Nicolette M. Dumke up for giveaway. To enter…
- For 1 entry simply leave me a comment entering the giveaway.
- For 2 entries, follow my blog. If you already do, thank you, and please let me know so I can pass the extra entry on to you as well.
- For 3 entries, blog or tweet this giveaway and spread the word.
This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only (no PO boxes) and I will draw for the winner on Saturday, February 4/12. Good luck everyone!