Gluten-free has become the latest buzz word in the world of diets and nutrition. With many people becoming aware of their bodies intolerance to gluten, or diagnosed with celiac disease, in addition to the countless numbers who are still undiagnosed, there are now many gluten-free versions of typical gluten-heavy foods available to the public.

With so much talk about the negative aspects of gluten, many people looking for that magical ingredient that will lead to quick weight-loss success have joined the gluten-free bandwagon. Big celebrities like actress Gwyneth Paltrow and talk-show host Oprah Winfrey have touted the diet, and some people do experience weight loss on the diet simply because they are cutting out high-calorie foods commonly found in baked goods and fast food.

What is gluten?

Gluten is a protein composite that is found in wheat (durum, graham, kamut, semolina, spelt), rye, and barley. It gives elasticity to dough and provides a chewy texture. It’s also commonly added as a food thickener or in food processing. While oats themselves do not contain gluten, the grain is often used as an ingredient in foods made in the same facility as other products that contain wheat and are frequently contaminated. Unless specifically labeled “gluten-free” they are considered to contain at least some traces of gluten.

Gluten intolerance and celiac disease

People who have a gluten intolerance, or have been diagnosed with celiac disease, typically have an immune mediated reaction to the ingestion of gluten that causes damage to the small intestine which does not allow foods to be properly absorbed. Even traces of gluten in people with celiac disease can cause medical problems.

Gluten and weight gain

Gluten can cause weight gain in people who are sensitive to it virtually by the ingredient causing them to become tired and depressed when ingesting it. Eating a product that contains gluten is not directly linked to gaining weight; the issue is that gluten is often found in high-carb foods that can make you fat. If you don’t have an allergy or intolerance to gluten, there is no reason to avoid it.

If you are, inflammation may occur from gluten that can cause fluid retention and some weight gain, or you may eat more and exercise less due to being sluggish, which can also result in added pounds.

Cleansing diet

A gentle cleansing diet is one of the best ways to find out if your body is sensitive to gluten. While there are blood tests available to determine if you have celiac disease, they can often give false results. There are many people who may test negative for celiac disease, but could have a condition called “gluten sensitivity” and experience adverse effects when ingesting gluten.

A cleansing diet may help rid your body of toxins and harmful compounds, and with the elimination of gluten, they provide an ideal way to find out if you are gluten intolerant. Following the cleansing diet, try reintroducing gluten slowly to find out if you have a reaction. It’s important to pay attention to how you feel after eating it, and if you have any of the common symptoms of gluten sensitivity, including headaches, joint pains and gastrointestinal distress such as bloating, pain or changes in bowl movements.

Make note of any side effects, and if you do discover that you are gluten intolerant after your cleansing diet, it may be beneficial to go on a gluten-free diet.

Following a gluten-free diet

Remember, a gluten-free diet is not a license to eat anything labeled gluten-free, as many of these foods are high calorie and will lead to weight gain by indulging in too many. A diet that is free from processed foods (or eaten on a very limited basis) is an excellent way for anyone to achieve better overall health and an ideal weight.

You’ll need to avoid grains that contain gluten as well as sauces, seasonings and many prepared meals (or frozen entrees) unless specifically labeled gluten-free. Replace eliminated products with healthy carbs from fruits and vegetables, rice and quinoa.

Author's Bio: 

Tom White is a nutritional cleansing expert and cleansing diet coach. For the past six years Tom has been helping people enjoy optimum health using natural nutritional cleansing programs, such as Isagenix Cleansing Diet.

Tom run's a popular website which provides free diet plans and expert advice, along with the ability to buy Isagenix products online

To find out more visit CleansingMatters.com.