Gluten-Free Simplicity

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Gluten-Free Energy (part 3): Basic Diet, Energy and Being Gluten-Free

Posted by nepeht on December 13, 2008

  So what can a person with Celiac Disease and a need for a Gluten-Free Diet eat that will make her/him feel healthy also well as give her/him lots of good energy?

  The energy from food that we need to function is referred to as calories.  And calories come from proteins, carbohydrates and from fats.  According to Medline:

“Technically, 1 calorieis the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water 1 degree Centigrade. The calorie measure used commonly to discuss the energy content of food is actually a kilocalorie or 1000 real calories. This is the amount of energy required to raise 1 kilogram of water (about 2.2 pounds) 1 degree Centigrade.

Different foods contain different amounts of energy — which is why a small piece of chocolate can have many more calories than a similarly sized piece of lettuce.

However, since calories are a measure of energy, there cannot be, as some diet books claim, different types of calories. A fat calorie has the same amount of energy as a protein or carbohydrate calorie.”  From Medline.

  On the other hand, calories from different sources seem to effect and cost the body differently.  There are various arguments over which sources of calories are best for people and which sources of calories contribute most to weight gain and health problems.  “When it comes to weight gain or loss, a calorie is a calorie regardless of its source, says Edith Howard Hogan, a registered dietitian in Washington, D.C.” (from USA Today).

  • “Carbohydrates contain about 4 calories per gram
  • Proteins contain about 4 calories per gram
  • Fats contain about 9 calories per gram (2.25 times more energy than carbohydrates or proteins)  and

                    One pound of body fat contains about 3,500 calories.” from

   Moving on, we notice that the source of the calorie (ie., from fat, protein or carbohydrates) is of importance. 

“A calorie is the energy value of food. Foods that have more calories provide more energy, foods with fewer calories provide less energy.”

“CHO, fat and protein are called the “energy nutrients” because they are the only nutrients that provide energy directly to the human body. Your body obtains energy by the breakdown and utilization of these three nutrients. Each of the foods that we eat, have some combination of the energy nutrients.”

“Some foods, like an apple, contain mostly CHO. Other foods, like a hamburger patty, contain mostly fat. Milk contains some of each of the three energy nutrients.”

“The energy value of each food depends on how much CHO, fat and protein it contains. This information can be easily obtained using the information provided on most food labels.”  

“If you choose more of your foods from CHO sources (as suggested by the Food Pyramid), you can actually eat more food without risking eating too many calories. On the other hand, you do not have to eat much fat to equal quite a few calories because fat calories accumulate more than twice as fast.”  from Whole Health.

   From the Medline and NIH come some basic Diet recommendations FOR NORMAL’s  (NOT written for persons with Celiac Disease or Gluten-Sensitivity):

  1. ” Do not eat meat more than once a day. Fish and poultry are recommended instead of red or processed meats.
  2. Avoid frying food because food absorbs the fats from cooking oils and this increases dietary fat intake. Bake or broil food instead. If you do fry, use polyunsaturated oils, such as corn oil.
  3. Include adequate fiber in your diet. Fiber is found in green leafy vegetables, fruit, beans, bran flakes, nuts, root vegetables, and whole grain foods. Fiber often makes you feel full without having to eat excess calories.
  4. Do not eat more than 4 eggs per week. Although they are a good source of protein and low in saturated fat, eggs are very high in cholesterol, and should be eaten in moderation for that reason.
  5. Choose fresh fruit for desserts rather than cookies, cake, or pudding.
    Cut down on salt, whether it be table salt, or flavor intensifiers that contain salt such as mono sodium glutamate (MSG).
  6. Too much of anything has its drawbacks, whether it be calories, or a particular type of food. A well-balanced diet with creativity and variety are best suited to your needs”   from MedlinePlus.

    This is of particular interest because if one studies these basics and fits them into the need for being Gluten-Free as well as the need for more calories/energy from protein rather than from fats, one might get closer to a personally valuable understanding of their own diet.

  Simply glancing over the list above, one can see that:

  •  with number 3, one needs to become aware of foods that are high in fiber yet absent of Gluten. 
  • regarding number 5, it seems that one needs to avoid Gluten-containing desserts and go for the fruits which are all Gluten-Free.
  • Also regarding number 5 it is recommended that one skip MSG-containing flavourings as well as salt as much as possible.

  This brings us to a need to better understand Nutrients.  According to the Brian Mac Sports Coach Site, the Nutrients are:

  • “Proteins – essential to growth and repair of muscle and other body tissues
  • Fats – one source of energy and important in relation to fat soluble vitamins
  • Carbohydrates – our main source of energy
  • Minerals – those inorganic elements occurring in the body and which are critical to its normal functions
  • Vitamins – water and fat soluble vitamins play important roles in many chemical processes in the body
  • Water – essential to normal body function – as a vehicle for carrying other nutrients and because 60% of the human body is water
  • Roughage – the fibrous indigestible portion of our diet essential to health of the digestive system”

    Mac writes that, “Energy is Like fuel for a car, the energy we need has to be blended. The blend that we require is as follows:

  • 57% Carbohydrates (sugar, sweets, bread, cakes)
  • 30% Fats (dairy products, oil)
  • 13% Protein (eggs, milk, meat, poultry, fish)”

  Just from this, a person with Gluten-Sensitivity has to ask, so where am I going to get my Carbs?  And if you are like me, you increased both your Fat and Protein intake.  it does not take a Dietitian to know that Neither of these options is going to be good in the long run.

  It seems a valuable idea here would be that of finding more Gluten-Free sources of Carbohydrates.  But at the same time being careful NOT to over do anything.  BUT NOT SO FAST!!!  Then we run into this:

“The facts tell us that higher-carb diets are harder to stick with
than with lower-carb diets, that low-carb diets do better to
improve blood tests reading including increased “good”
cholesterol levels, while low-fat diet decrease “good”
cholesterol; that lower-carb, higher-fat diets increase energy
expenditure through the day by enhancing body heat production
so you can consume extra 300 Cal. and still be losing weight,
etc. ”

“On the other hand, medical statistics shows that higher-carb
diets are OK if you are a very physically active person, don’t have
emotional eating problems, or your metabolic makeup allows
you to easily burn calories, at rest or/and through exercising.”

Please read more about it following these URLs:

Calorie Intake On Atkins and Low Carb Diets

Why you should never drop below 1,200 calories

The Glycemic Impact Diet
secrets-of-gi-diet.html” from Diet Expert Tanya Zilberter, Ph.D..

  So clearly there is much more to learn about this, but hopefully you are getting something out of this as am I.


2 Responses to “Gluten-Free Energy (part 3): Basic Diet, Energy and Being Gluten-Free”

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