Glutton Free: No, That’s Not a Typo

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Today’s guest post comes courtesy of San Antonio based personal trainer, Jonathan Acosta. Some of you may remember a previous post Jonathan wrote for this site – Carbohydrate Rotation Revamped – which was big hit.

Today he covers gluten. But not in a way that’s going to wave his uppity, yoga class going, Prius driving, Whole Foods shopping, I-made-these-delish-gluten-free-chocolate-peanut-butter-brownies-sprinkled -with-fat-free-fairy-dust-that-you-just-have-to-try finger at us.

He understands that Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance does exists, and that for some, avoiding gluten at all costs is kind of important.

However, he also recognizes that for most people, like 99% of us, gluten is not the evil stepchild it’s made out to be…and that there are other, more incendiary culprits in play when it comes to our growing waistlines.

In short: just a little tough love. Enjoy!

Glutton Free

Have you seen the movie This Is the End? You know the one with all the funny comedians and the end of the world.

If you haven’t, there’s a part in the beginning where Seth Rogan is explaining to Jay Baruchel about how he’s eating better and they can’t go to Carl’s Jr because he’s staying away from gluten. Jay then proceeds to make fun of him because of how ill informed he is of gluten and they end up at Carls Jr.

Why am I telling you this?

Because,

1 – EVERYONE needs to see that movie.

2 – Most people are ill informed about gluten and automatically assume they are allergic to gluten and think its clean eating. Even most docs are ill informed about it.

People going on a “health kick” assume that this is it. This is the magic piece they’ve been missing in order to reach their goals.

Eureka! Its gluten!

Im gonna go gluten free and get so (ripped, toned, sexy, insert any diet-related adjective here) because Dr. Oz said so.

The problem is most people don’t even know what gluten is. I really don’t want to go too in depth with gluten because its not the main topic of this post, and a simple google search can explain it better than I can.

 

In a nutshell a gluten is a protein that’s naturally found in wheat and other grains. Not every grain has it (quinoa and rice are the first two that come to mind).

People with Celiac disease are the main population that should be avoiding these as they cause a whole heap of health problems including low immune system, pain and bloating, fatigue ect. I’ll admit that some people who don’t have celiac disease can also benefit with removing gluten from their diet as well.

But those are few and far in between.

Note from TG: For those interested in reading more about gluten – what it is, what it isn’t, who should avoid it, what effects it may have, etc – I’d encourage you to read THIS article from Precision Nutrition.

Disclaimer: Im not a doctor nor do I pretend to be. But in my opinion, unless you have legit, genuine, and aggressive celiac disease, I see no need to be anal (A friend dared me $5 that I couldn’t use this word in a post, cha ching!) and go through the trouble of removing gluten from their diet.

Will it help a bit if you feel bloated and have some G.I. issues? Maybe. Will it help you get amazing fat loss or muscle building results? Not likely. You see gluten isn’t the really the culprit.

Even gluten free foods can be “bad”.

Contrary to popular belief many food items that are “gluten free” are still processed and refined.

Not to mention that gluten free doesn’t automatically mean healthy for you. Just the other day my wife and I were at a restaurant when I overheard the table next to us tell the waitress “let me get the gluten free pizza, I’m eating healthy and that’s the only gluten free item on the menu”.

I glanced at the menu and saw tons of lean protein and veggie options that would’ve been a better replacement for her goals.

Here’s the thing and my point of all this: Gluten isn’t the problem. The problem is it’s homonym. The problem is glutton.

Glutton – To over indulge, over eat, over drink, or too much wealth to the point of extravagance or waste.

Maybe we got it wrong. Maybe when the nutrition gods sent down the Seven Deadly Nutrition Sins we misinterpreted them.

Maybe we were like “What does that say? Gluten? Oh I get it, thou shall not eat gluten duh!”

I’m no expert, but maybe you shouldn’t be getting on a gluten free diet and get on a glutton free diet instead.

Maybe the real problem is the over indulging.

Food portions have become so crazy and well, disproportionate, that what was once considered one serving in any typical restaurant can now, technically, feed two (sometimes more) people.

Without realizing it, you’ve doubled your serving size every time you eat out. Pay attention to what you’re eating. Be mindful of the portion size you’re eating. You don’t have to eat like a baby bird, but you don’t have to eat like a gluttonous T-rex either.

Yep, it’s gluten’s fault.

This is why one of my favorite go to tips to revamp results with my clients is to have them weigh and measure their food.

I get it, its all the rage right now to revolt against weighing and measuring and counting macros and calories. It sucks, and it sucks the enjoyment out of eating food. But the truth is…even if you don’t weigh or measure food, your body does.

Here’s what I propose: For 99% of people, 99% of the time, including YOU, all you really need to do is pay more attention to what and how much you’re eating vs. if it has gluten.

What would be a better choice for your fat loss or muscle building goals? A steak, jasmine rice, and veggies? Or a gluten free pizza?

Yeah, yeah, yeah….calories in vs. calories out (and portion sizes) matter – so you technically could make a case for both – but lets cut through the BS and act like adults here.

Change gluten free to glutton free and watch things change.

Did what you just read make your day? Ruin it? Either way, you should share it with your friends and/or comment below.

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  • Danielle D

    great article!

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  • Y Taylor

    Yes!! So true! I am a health & fitness personal chef. I cannot tell you how many people contact me wanting help because they gained 10+ lbs AFTER being diagnosed with celiac or being gluten intolerant. This diagnosis does not mean you should go out and purchase every item labeled gluten free, and eat it ALL! The sugar, starches and fillers in the majority of those products are just as bad as the gluten itself. And I completely agree that portion size is a big part of it.

    • TonyGentilcore

      Thank you for chiming in Y Taylor. Very interesting to hear this from a chef’s perspective.

      Must be doubling annoying when someone who claims to be “gluten free” questions YOUR menu and asks my rice is there. Um, rice IS gluten free. Jackass.

      • Y Taylor

        Lol! Yes indeed! As Alison also mentioned, people are reacting and clinging onto the marketing of these products by so called “natural” companies who hook us with trendy buzz words. I had the opportunity to recipe and product develop for a big player in that arena a few years ago and learned just how UN-natural these foods really are. Yet they fly off the shelves at Whole Foods. Empty calories lead to overeating whether its gluten free cookies or rice pasta. Another bothersome arm of this issue that I see now is everyone “Paleo-izing” everything. Some of the Paleo bloggers I had admired a great deal several years ago have put back on the weight they lost and more. I understand it can be challenging to keep meals interesting, but I think the trend in competing for creativity through blogging, Pinterest, etc also lends itself to a form of gluttonous eating. Its just not healthy to have 35g of fat in a “grain-free” brownie. Call it paleo all you want, it doesn’t make it a healthy choice. In moderation, sure! Education is so important.

        • TonyGentilcore

          Hmmmm, I LOVE your way of thinking. Would you ever be interested in writing a little sumthin, sumthin for this site?

          If so, shoot me an email: tgentilcore18@yahoo.com.

          I think your voice, expertise, and “inside track” into the food industry would be a welcome message to the masses.

  • I am so happy to see this. I hate how everyone jumped on the Celiac bandwagon here and decided to cut out gluten because it’s a trendy buzz word without even bothering to do any research whatsoever about it. I don’t understand how the majority of society doesn’t “get” how eating normal foods in moderate amounts without going overboard with anything and exercise is the only way to real lasting weight loss… your post nailed it.

    • TonyGentilcore

      Agreed. Jonathan hit the nail on the head with this one. Almost always a SENSIBLE approach is the answer to everything.

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  • TonyGentilcore

    I wanted to share an email I received from a physician (one who lifts and has an FMS/SFMA certification to boot).

    I’ve been following you and Eric Cressey for quite some time…I really appreciate your contributions to the progressive educational and movement “story” that I and many others believe is positively influencing the strength, fitness and conditioning community(s).

    Regarding your recent post about gluten, there is truth hidden beneath the marketing and weight-loss hype of “gluten-free” right now. I’m from LA, so I’ll be the first to vouch for the amplitude of lemming followers in locations such LA or NY when there is a new food-trend kid on the block (ie, vegan, raw, paleo, Mediterranean, fasting, etc…). And although the ignorance around gluten-free is astounding (as your late night video clip expresses so poignantly), clinically (I’m a doc) the positive effects for some people (not necessarily those “healthy” ones jogging in the park, or athletes at your gym) can be astounding.

    In short, gluten/gliadin are classes of proteins found in certain grains whose numbers have increased exponentially (some research indicated 500x more) since the 1960’s when the hybridization of wheat became commonplace. Combine hybridization with current food processing techniques which make that increased volume of proteins more bioavailable, and NASA we have a problem.

    Viruses, bacteria, fungi, etc all consists of protein; now introduce a novel protein, at increased quantities to an immune system that 1) has not had time to adapt, 2) might already be compromised, or 3) is too sedentary, eats the pro-inflammatory standard american diet, etc… and problems start to arise.

    And gluttony is an issue in the US, but why? And why here more than any other country in the world? Weak willed? Lazy? Or a common way to blame a potential victim? A complex topic indeed, but I would argue that for many (and there is research to support this and I’ve seen it clinically) some of the complex proteins in our uber-hybridized wheat (and over consumption of dairy, another story for another time) cause a morphine-like response in the brains of those susceptible (look up: gluteomorphins) that causes addictive-like behavior. (Your fiance will likely dig this topic). A subtle shift in perspective now becomes, glutton or addict?

    And this is just a small part of the real story hidden under the gluten-hype.

    If you have gotten this far I appreciate your time/attention, and I hope I have got you thinking a tad differently about the topic.
    Here is a great place to start if interested in learning more: http://www.tenderfoodie.com/blog/2011/12/19/interview-w-dr-alessio-fasano-part-1-should-anyone-eat-glute.html
    Best,

    Julie Beck
    Just for content context: I’m a DC (CA & NH), I have a masters in nutrition, certification in functional medicine, functional neurology, sports medicine (and CSCS), FMS/SFMA, and other stuff.

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