The term ‘gluten-free’ is now becoming part of our everyday eating terminology and some of our best selling sausages are gluten, wheat and dairy free but what exactly is gluten and how does it affect your diet? We’ve teamed up with nutritionist and Sanford Clinic founder, Stephanie Lashford, to get those all-important answers.
Scientifically, gluten is the protein found in some grains and typically adds structure to baked products. Whilst that doesn’t sound particularly harmful, grains can convert quickly to raise blood sugar levels. They also have addictive properties that cause us to crave these foods and overeat.
For lots of my patients, taking gluten off the menu helps them eat a healthy diet, improve IBS symptoms and lose weight.
However, lots of gluten-free foods are made by replacing grains with corn, rice, potato or tapioca starch. This is not a winning combination for anyone looking to slim down or drop a few pounds and many of my patients can be intolerant to these replacement ingredients as well.
From the seventies onwards, when processed foods hit supermarket shelves, we’ve spent years eating a high carbohydrate diet: sugary cereals for breakfast, sandwich-fuelled lunches and carb-heavy evening meals. This means blood sugar levels are always fluctuating and our metabolism relies on a constant supply of readily absorbed sugars.
Removing these sugars enables the body to adapt to mobilising and burning fatty acids – which, after several days, helps shrink visceral fat deposited around the waist and hips. In other words helping to get rid of that stubborn fat around the middle!
It may seem daunting to give up some of our favourite carbohydrate and sugary foods but once my patients start to see the benefits of gluten-free living they rarely go back!
To find out more about gluten, health issues or the Sandford Clinic visit their website here www.sanfordclinic.co.uk