Gluten is a protein found commonly in grains like wheat, barley and rye. It's best known for it's elastic-like property which helps bread rise and to take shape. Gluten free products were originally designed as an option for individuals with a gluten allergy or celiac disease.
Celiac disease is a condition that causes the digestive tract in some individuals to become inflamed so it cannot absorb nutrients. It results in a lot of problems including malnutrition and severe weight loss. The exact number of people with this condition is unknown but it's suspected to be around 1:133 people in Canada.
Gluten free seems to be taking on a new purpose though: as a potential weight loss method. Many media personalities have popularized the diet including Kim Kardashian and there are a number of books out including "Wheat Belly" by William Davis.
But is gluten really to blame for all the weight related issues out there? Is it really an effective weight loss method?
In short: No.
Eating gluten free foods will not help you to lose weight. In fact the substitutes used in some gluten free products can be higher in calories and lower in fibre, making them have the total opposite effect.
If you have a legitimate intolerance to gluten, then it is advised that you stay away from it, but it's a good idea to speak with your doctor or dietitian first before you do. Gluten free eating will mean needing to cut a lot of things out of your diet and as a result, it can be very restricting.
What is more of an issue in our society is over consuming refined carbs (white breads, pastas, baked goods, processed snack foods etc). Whole grain wheat, rye and barley are loaded with lot of important fibre and nutrients which can aid in healthy nutrition.
Whole foods first. Don't fall into the trendy dieting pit.