In college I routinely ate something referred to as a Harold’s Half, which if you live in Chicago, you know is half of a chicken (about three pounds of meat) buttermilk batter dipped, deep fried and then slathered in hot sauce and barbeque sauce. This is then mounted on a pile of fries which are on top of two slices of white bread. I used to eat the entire thing, every thing but the bones for dinner (two thighs and two drumsticks and Harold did NOT skimp on the size of those parts) and wash it down with beer about three times a week. During this time, I played NO sports and could not have run a mile even if I was chased by a lion.
That….is…NOT…..normal. Based on what I ate, my butt should have been applying for statehood. I was endlessly looking for tapeworms which seemed to me the only explanation as to how a person could eat like that and have 34 inch hips.
My life of effortless thinness lasted until I started trying to get pregnant, but the truth is that I have always eaten a freakish amount of calories compared to my actual weight…until I went gluten-free.
Now once I went gluten-free I started eating less. A LOT less. As in about one third to one half of what I ate before. My husband was stunned at the tiny dinner portions. I on the other hand was sure that I would get sick if I ate any more.
So I wondered where this idea came from that going gluten-free would help with weight loss. Do not get me wrong. I am far less hungry now that I am gluten free and I am at least 15 pounds thinner, but I am thinner because I am no longer swollen and I eat a fraction of the food.
So I started to research this. Where does it come from? Why does anyone thing that this is a weight loss program?
As it turns out there is evidence, although we are talking about a single study and we are talking about mice. Mouse studies are great. I love them. I am just not willing to rely on a single mouse study to say that something works in humans. I would like to see someone else getting the same results.
However there is some additional research that seems to indicate that if you actually do have celiac disease then going on a gluten free diet will make you fatter. The following study showed that those people with celiac disease who never ate gluten free were thinner than those who had celiac disease and ate gluten free.
Now I will tell you that my weight is pretty effortless. For every dessert recipe on this site, I have eaten that dessert at least 9 times (I test each recipe three times and I keep the result in the fridge for a week to taste it as it ages because anything that falls apart or turns into a boulder in seven days is rejected) so I do eat. but my appetite fell off a cliff when I went gluten-free. So I am thinner but I also eat way less than I used to.
In my mind the jury is out on this one. There is no evidence either way.
That said, nobody needs gluten, and it does force you to think about every bite that you eat. So if you want to try it go for it.
I will be interested to see how it works out. I will be in the corner eating salad…and not being able to finish.