I came upon a celiac listserv post that I saved, and I thought maybe you all might be interested. It'd be interesting to hear what your experiences were to add to the discussion (I wrote her my experience, hence the SP reference at the bottom!) Here is this person's reply to the answers she received about weight gain after instituting the gf diet:
"Wow -- I received nearly 60 responses in less than three days about this topic. This suggests that our members are very concerned about this.
I really appreciate the detailed degree of sharing so many of you have provided. This has been most informative and very supportive. I am happy to know I am not alone. Thanks for your response.
The answers were very informative. Typically, most of us have gained a lot of weight after beginning the gf diet. The least reported was 10 pounds; the most around 75. It seems 35 is an average, and another list member confirmed this with a statistic from her experience.
In total, all but a couple of people have experienced unpleasant and undesired weight gain. There were three responders who were grateful for the gain in weight, since they had always been underweight so understanably found the weight and nutrient gain to be beneficial. Although most appreciate the increase in health, the weight gain is frustrating for many who responded to this topic.
For most of us this shift in weight has been very rapid after beginning on the gf diet ( within a few months to gradual/progessive over a 5 year period.) No amount of diet on the gf diet seems to help, and even moderate to intense exercise has been unsuccessful in keeping the pounds off.
We have some athletes on our site too, as well as a high number of us who walk or work out at least 5 days a week. So what is responsible for this is the common question we are all confused about?
Most of us were able to eat anything we wanted and lost weight prior to being celiac, or prior to establishing the gf diet. Some of us have always had to watch what we ate. No matter which category you fall into, the majority of responders have put on weight with the gluten free diet; continue to put on weight and can not get it off. Perhpas we are all climbing to our natural weight and would have arrived here sooner had we not been sick? This is a question that needs to be researched.
There have been some other important issues addressed and interesting hypothesis put forward that might account for the weight gain problem. Here would be the check list from what others have gone through in evaluating there own circumstance.
1. Do I have an underactive thyroid?
2. Do I have diabetes? Is there a relationship or interaction?
3. Do I eat more than I think?
4.) Do I eat in-between meals or before bed? (The person asking this question did not offer an explanation and so it might be helpful if they could write what they know about the effects of doing this. I know I have read that eating less than every 4-5 hours, as well as eating before bed can cause storage from hormones which are released when the body eats food off its natural schedule.)
5.) Am I in menopause? Is there a shift in metabolism or hormones that might be responsible for a reasonable number of additional pounds?
These seem like really good observations and good questions to do a self check about, and to talk with your doctor about. Getting the appropriate physical and lab work might help to rule in or out factors that effect a gain in pounds.
The most common observation list members shared were really about the types of foods that they have been eating since going gluten free, and the impact of those foods on weight gain. I am only interpreting the responses, and am not representing medical knowledge or advice.
Specifically, those on gf diets shift from wheat based flours to rice or tapioca based flours which are much higher in starch and carbohydrates. The rice and tapioca based flours have a higher glycemic index due to their highly processed nature. This causes more rapid absorbtion, and an insulin spike shooting up quickly after eating, which results in the storage of sugar that turns into unwanted fat.
One member said that wheat starch has about 400 calories a cup compared to rice starch that has 600 calories per cup. So in no time these calories add up, in addition to the spike in insulin that effects how fat is stored.
A helpful suggestion was to substitute almond and hazelnut flour for rice and tapioca, since these are lower in carbohydrates.
Another list member found she lost weight after eliminating grain fed meat from her diet. I would never have thought of that.
Then again many of us eat those "specialty gluten free" items, such as gf cookies and chips, which are also extremely high in carbohydrates and other things that contribute to weight gain.
Many of you have called these "deadly."
So, in conclusion, we should eat only meat, chicken, eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts and occasionally rice -- and watch for grain fed products. Let's all try this for one month and than report our results!
In terms of theories about why we gain weight many have suggested the "starvation mode" theory that says celiac's and gluten intolerants have been in a starving mode for years and that now that the villi are healed, or now that they are not getting sick and losing all their nutrients, their body is actually absorbing fats and minerals for the first time. This in itself can cause weight gain. In addition, the body may be holding onto these treasures in anticipation of being in the starvation mode again. This means the body may take some time to get adjusted -- or to TRUST the situation. One person said it took her 5 years to stop gaining, and began to be able to lose weight once her situation stabilized.
Doctor Green has also spoken about villi damage and recovery, to include the fact that recovered villi means absorbing nutrients and possible weight gain as a consequence. This is what one person reported. If more information about what Dr. Green specifically said is readily available, that would be helpful.
Some things to check out:
1. Dr. Mercola's website on "Eat Right for Your Type." (mercola.com)
2. Sparkpeople.com on exercise and nutrition
3. The Specific Carbohydrate Diet
Again, thanks for all the responses. I will update if new information comes my way, and hope others will add to this forum. If the above information is known to be incorrect -- please inform us. I wish us all some luck and lots more knowledge in dealing with our gluten free diets."
Edited by: DOTSLADY at: 9/20/2007 (07:42)
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