The following is an excerpt from my book The Gluten Effect by Drs Vikki and Richard Petersen:
“Contrary to classic medical opinion, gluten intolerance is not associated with weight loss the majority of the time. In fact, it is simply the opposite. Gluten-sensitive patients are overweight approximately forty percent of the time due to various direct and indirect factors. Because of the misperception that most individuals suffer weight loss when they have gluten sensitivity, a greater number of people go undiagnosed. This perception needs to change.”
If anything stands in the way of a person getting properly diagnosed with gluten sensitivity, it’s weight. Why? Because we are trained that celiac disease, one manifestation of gluten sensitivity, is associated with dramatic weight loss.
The medical profession tends to “pidgeon-hole” certain diseases. We are taught that celiac is associated with weight loss, fatigue and diarrhea. Therefore if a patient comes in with obesity, celiac is mentally crossed off the list of possible problems to rule out.
This is one of the many reasons we wrote our book. Not only are 95% of those suffering with celiac disease never diagnosed but the percentage of those with gluten sensitivity who continue to suffer undiagnosed is about 99.8%. This must change as too many people are suffering needlessly.
And more from our book: “According to the Centers for Disease Control, 66% of all adults over the age of 20 are overweight or obese. 32% are overtly obese. For children, 18% are categorized as overweight.”
These numbers are staggering! And what’s even worse is that these people are never considered to be gluten sensitive; the very problem that could be at the root cause of their obesity.
In order for your metabolic rate to be normal and burn the calories you take in, adequate nutrition needs to come into the body and be absorbed by your cells. In our country, where food is very available, consumption isn’t usually the problem. Absorption however can often be. Here’s how:
- Remember that gluten sensitivity causes malabsorption due to the damage it creates in the small intestine.
- If the food goes into your mouth but never adequately arrives at your cells; your cells are essentially starving.
- When the cells are inadequately fed they tell the body to lower its metabolic rate.
- This results in a person who while not overeating continues to gain weight. Their body just doesn’t efficiently burn what it consumes but instead “holds on” to it.
The stress of the cells being “starved” causes this decreased metabolic rate and is one of the reasons those suffering from gluten sensitivity suffer from obesity.
The good news is that the situation is resolvable. Properly identifying gluten sensitivity and removing gluten from the diet allows the small intestine to heal. Once healed, nutrients again begin to be absorbed properly and the cells, now receiving adequate nutrition, increase the metabolic rate and weight loss ensues.
It doesn’t happen overnight – but it does happen.