Gluten Free Vs. Carb Free for Weight Loss


Your food choices have a lot to do with how much energy you have and how easy it is for you to lose weight. Some popular dieting choices are gluten free and carb free, both of which require significant dietary changes. While cutting out foods from your diet can help cut calories, both of these diets will only help you lose weight and keep it off if you make smart food selections.

Carb-Free Diet

Going carb free means that you cut out any food that contain carbohydrates, which are made from sugars, starches, cellulose and gums. Cutting all foods that have carbs can be very difficult. Foods that contain sugars of any kind have carbohydrates. This can include breads, fruits, certain vegetables, candy and soda.

Gluten-Free Diet

Gluten is a protein used to make food thicker or chewier. A gluten-free diet includes plenty of fruits and vegetables. Grains such as rice, quinoa, and buckwheat, and protein sources from cold-water fish, chicken or plant-based proteins are important parts of the gluten-free diet, according to Dr. Nancy Steely, USANA senior scientist in product development. Some foods that are not included in the diet are pastas, breads, hot dogs, soy sauce, some pickles and other foods processed with gluten.

Carb Free Works

A carbohydrate-heavy meal triggers an increase insulin production. As it works to break down starches and sugars, insulin can also contribute to weight gain. Insulin production boosts your appetite and signals your body to store fat, says Joni Rampolla, director of nutrition and wellness for Medifast. Cutting out carbs using a carb-free diet can keep your blood sugar at an even keel, keep cravings at a minimum and lower your body's need to store fat. Of course, the trick to losing weight is consuming less calories than you use. So, even on a carb-free diet you can still fail to lose weight.

Gluten-Free Diets Cut Carbs

Going on a gluten-free diet may have the same effects as eating a carb-free diet, to an extent. Many foods that contain gluten, such as bread and pasta, are high in carbohydrates, says Rampolla. Cutting out items that contain gluten can also simultaneously cut out carbs, as well.

Choosing gluten free won't cut out all of your carbs, though. Not all gluten-free items are low in calories, either, notes Dr. Steely. Many candies and sodas that are gluten free are still jam-packed with carbs and calories. So you still must choose items that are lower in calories and sugar to lose weight.

Carb and Gluten Free Can Lead to Overeating

Carb- and gluten-free diets may cause some people to think that any food that is carb or gluten free can be eaten with abandon. But gluten-free and carb-free foods can still be detrimental to your diet if they aren't eaten in moderation. Rampolla recommends eating smaller servings of food more often throughout the day. She also recommends eating more foods that are low glycemic, meaning they don’t cause sharp increases in blood sugar, such as walnuts, brown rice, quinoa, apples, black beans and broccoli.