THE FLAW: Gluten is the protein most commonly found in breads and grains. “While eliminating breads, cereals, pastas, etc. and not replacing those calories with another food may result in weight loss, it is not likely to be sustainable,” explains Roper St. Francis Healthcare affiliated dietitian Erin Castle. “Alternatively, many people turn to ‘gluten-free’ baked goods instead of regular, which are not necessarily lower in calories, fat or sugar.” Avoiding foods with gluten may also make you miss out on insoluble fiber, which is found in whole-wheat products that contain gluten (along with many whole fruits and veggies) and promotes GI health.
THE FIX: For the one percent of the U.S. that has celiac disease—a condition in which gluten damages the small intestine—going gluten-free is essential. “It is also thought that six to seven percent of Americans have a sensitivity to gluten, symptoms of which include digestive issues, headaches and rash.” If you suspect an intolerance or celiac disease, visit a gastroenterologist, who can test you. If you don’t, consider focusing on choosing whole grains over processed starches and limiting added sugars to aid with your weight loss efforts instead.