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A gluten-free diet makes you slimmer - but in a different way than you think

A gluten-free diet makes you slimmer - but in a different way than you think
A low-gluten diet makes you a little slimmer and increases your energy expenditure, but then probably not because of the absence of gluten proteins. Danish researchers suspect that the slimming effect of a gluten-free diet is mainly due to the healthier type of dietary fibers in foods without gluten. And that has consequences for everyonse who wants to experiment with a gluten-free or low-gluten diet.

For 8 weeks, the researchers gave 60 healthy Danes, aged 22-65 years and without gluten intolerance, a diet with more gluten than normal [High Gluten Diet]. That diet yielded 18 grams of gluten a day. A standard diet provides 12 grams of gluten per day.

On another occasion, the subjects were given a low-gluten diet [Low Gluten Diet] for 8 weeks. This diet yielded only 2 grams of gluten a day.

The nutritional value of the High Gluten Diet was identical to that of the Low Gluten Diet. Even the amount of dietary fiber of both diets were equal to each other.

In the period that the subjects ate gluten-free, they lost some weight [at the bottom left]. Yet they did not exercise more, nor did they reduce their energy intake.

The researchers suspect that weight loss was the result of higher cellular energy consumption. They derive this from an increased concentration of beta-AIBA [BAIBA] in the urine of the subjects [at the bottom in the middle]. Beta-AIBA allows cells to use more energy more. You can read more about beta-AIBA here and here.

A gluten-free diet makes you slimmer - but in a different way than you think

In addition, the subjects reported that they felt less bloated. Then you start thinking about processes in the digestive organs, and an analysis of the air that the test subjects exhaled strengthened the Danes in that view. The gluten-poor diet reduced the amount of hydrogen the researchers detected in the breath of the subjects after a meal.

A gluten-free diet makes you slimmer - but in a different way than you think

The concentration of hydrogen in the air that you exhale is a marker for mostly unhealthy activity of microorganisms in your gastrointestinal tract. When the researchers analyzed the bacterial population in faecal samples of the test subjects, they saw that the low-gluten diet had drastically reduced quite a few bacterial strains.

A gluten-free diet makes you slimmer - but in a different way than you think

The subtle positive health effects of a low-gluten diet are therefore probably the result of a healthier and less overactive microflora. And that is mainly the result of the apparently healthier type of dietary fiber in the gluten-free diet - and not so much the result of the absence of gluten. Think the researchers.

And that is where the shoe is wrung, says research leader Oluf Pedersen in a press release. [ November 15, 2018] In practice, many people who opt for a gluten-free diet do not do their research, and lean heavily on the food industry. They simply replace gluten products with products from the gluten-free shelf in the supermarket.

"Most gluten-free food items available on the market today are massively deprived of dietary fibers and natural nutritional ingredients", says Pedersen. "Therefore, there is an obvious need for availability of fibre-enriched, nutritionally high-quality gluten-free food items which are fresh or minimally processed to consumers who prefer a low-gluten diet."

"Such initiatives may turn out to be key for alleviating gastro-intestinal discomfort and in addition to help facilitating weight control in the general population via modification of the gut microbiota."

"Additional research is warranted to examine the effects of glycemic load on body weight, with control of energy intake. If metabolic benefits of reduced glycemic load diets are confirmed, development of appropriate behavioral and environmental interventions would be necessary for optimal translation to public health."

Nat Commun. 2018 Nov 13;9(1):4630.

Gluten-free diet has no effect on athletic performance 29.10.2015
Put on less weight with gluten free diet 29.06.2013

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