Sunday, 11 October 2009

Wheat-free = weight loss?

I decided to cut wheat out my diet this week as I have a few online friends who have successfully cut wheat out of their diets for the purpose of losing weight. There are a few theories why this might work.

  • That you might have an underlying intolerance to wheat/gluten, even a mild one, so removing it from your diet will enable you body to work better and maximise performance, so if you are eating sensibly and exercising, you may notice a difference..
  • That cutting out wheat means you remove a large group of high carb foods, eg pasta and bread to name two, so you naturally cut the number of calories you are consuming. Many wheat based products have a higher GI index, and therefore allow you to feel sugar highs and lows.....the lows meaning you are more likely to feel hunger and the need to snack.
  • That wheat plays such a large part in a typical Western diet now, that removing it means you are forced to really take a long hard look at what you are eating and what goes into your food.

I would say for me, if I am successful in losing weight in this way then it will be because of a mixture of the last two points as I have no reason to think I have any kind of food intolerance or allergy.

I am not cutting out gluten, just wheat. So I am still allowing myself oats, and other similar grains, such as rye, spelt, quinoa, buckwheat, corn.. to name a few. I am trying to not replace old habits of bread or pasta eating with a similar grain, but by allowing myself to eat other grains, I am not finding it too restrictive. I have also found I can eat more foods with a higher fat content (eg cheese) and not be pushing the number of calories I consume (I aim for 1400-1600 per day) and I naturally eat more protein rich foods as a result.... many of which are lower in fat as I am vegetarian.

Most of the tried and tested family meals are based around pasta, and i do want to continue eating the same as the rest of my family where possible. So this week I bought some 'Free from' spaghetti pasta (made from various wheat-free ingredients and quite highly processed). Although this tasted ok, the consistancy was not nice, very gloopy and I have no desire to eat it again!

I have since been advised, by that know more than me, that buying a pasta made from alternative flours might be better if I went for non-alternatives to wheat pasta - ie foods NOT trying to be a wheat substitute. Suggestions include rice noodles and buckwheat pasta. I also love quinoa and have found a pasta made from quinoa... so have ordered some with my groceries - should arrive at the end of next week... looking forward to trying it!

I have been eating more oatcakes and found some crackers made with spelt. I have also made 100% spelt loaves this week. I haven't eaten them in the same way as I would normal bread as they are very dense and filling, but I haven't really missed eating bread because of the gap these flours seem to fill......

So.... I had a sneak peep on the scales this morning (normal weigh-in day is Monday) and I have lost 2lbs. I am quite happy as I don't feel I have been trying too hard and I have only exercised once, which was Friday when I went to aerobics....And it's the first time I have lost weight since July when I returned from my honeymoon.

So initial thoughts are that (for whatever reason...) IT WORKS!

I intend to be realistic about what I eat and what I want to eat by doing 2 weeks cutting out wheat and 1 week eating as usual. In 2 weeks time we are going on holiday and I have already started baking cakes to take with us (parkin and pumpkin cake!).. so I intend to continue my wheat amnesty until then (24th October) and then indulge. I will resume on my return, hoping to get to target weight (8 stone 8lb) by Christmas.

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