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Put on less weight with gluten free diet

Put on less weight with gluten free diet
Even if you don't have a gluten allergy, but your fat mass is higher than you'd like, you may benefit from a diet containing less or no grains. Researchers at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in Brazil came to this conclusion after doing an experiment with mice. The Brazilians discovered that it's more difficult to build up fat reserves on a gluten-free diet.

Grains, gluten & inflammation
According to paleo diet proponents, the introduction of agriculture was a colossal blunder. As a result we now eat many products that our body is not really suited to digesting, including grains.

The paleo proponents avoid grain products, not only because they contain lots of carbohydrates, but also because they contain gluten proteins. These are not only bad for people who are allergic to gluten, they say, but for everyone.

The human digestive system is not good at dealing with gluten and only half digests it. After a meal containing grains, all sorts of peptides circulate around the body, which our immune system regards as alien intruders and tries to fight with inflammatory reactions.

Put on less weight with gluten free diet

One of the results of these inflammatory reactions is that the body's insulin metabolism works less well, increasing the risk of diabetes and making us put on weight more easily. That's the paleo proponents' view.

That's a load of rubbish, say conventional nutritionists, who by the way earn most of their money from a. large food manufacturers, b. agricultural organisations or c. ministries of agriculture.

The Brazilians decided to test the controversial paleo theory in lab animals. They put two groups of mice on a high-fat diet for eight weeks. One group was given food consisting of 4.5 percent gluten; the other group was given gluten-free food.

At the end of the eight weeks, the gluten-free mice had put on less weight than the mice in the control group. This was because the fat reserves of the gluten-free mice had grown less.

Put on less weight with gluten free diet

The insulin system in the gluten-free mice had deteriorated less than in the mice in the control group. Compared with the control mice, the glucose level in the gluten-free mice was a little lower and their Homa-IR [a measurement of insulin resistance] had increased by less.

Put on less weight with gluten free diet

In the gluten-free mice the production of the fat sensor PPAR-gamma increased by more than in the control mice. The same happened with the production of GLUT4 [a protein in cells that glucose absorbs out of the bloodstream].

In the gluten-free mice the production of inflammatory proteins such as TNF-alpha increased less. TNF-Alpha inhibits the effectiveness of insulin. The more insulin is hampered in its work, the fewer nutrients your muscle cells absorb, the more easily you put on weight and the more likely you are to develop diabetes-2.

The Brazilians also discovered why the gluten-free mice had fewer inflammatory proteins circulating in their bodies. There were less inflammatory reactions going on in their fat cells. Under the microscope these appear as 'crown like structures' [CLS].

Put on less weight with gluten free diet

In the photo above on the left you can see fat tissue from the control animals; the tissue in the photo on the right is from the gluten-free mice. The black stripes are immune cells that break down fat cells. This happens if fat cells are overloaded and have to store so many fatty acids that they can no longer function properly. The fat cells die, the immune cells clear them away and producte inflammatory proteins that inhibit the insulin from functioning and at the same time stimulate the growth of new fat cells.

"The removal of wheat gluten from the diet exerts a protective effect against body weight and adiposity gains", the Brazilians write. "Our data support the beneficial effects of gluten exclusion in reducing body weight and adiposity gain, inflammation and insulin resistance."

"Diet gluten exclusion should be tested as a new dietary approach to prevent the development of obesity and metabolic disorders."

J Nutr Biochem. 2013 Jun;24(6):1105-11.

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