Should you go on a Gluten-Free Diet?
I love food but food doesn't always love me. Over the past few years, I've had to rethink what I eat or end up in fetal position on the bathroom floor. It's not fun and it's not cute by any means. I'm lactose-intolerant-- so dairy is never an option-- but lately I'm starting to think there's more to my tummy troubles. My beloved Luna bars are starting to cause digestive wars and I've already cut out LARABARs.... hey, I just kinda rhymed. Anywho, this is not a pity party for my stomach and what I can't eat (trust me, I'm not whittling away by any means), but there may be an alleged culprit and I'm investigating--- cue the 60 Minutes ticking clock.
Gluten. tick. tick. tick.
Within the last year gluten has been dubbed a villain in the food industry, but who even knew what gluten was or heard of it until hyped up on health blogs and dissed by Miley Cyrus? So, why are we picking on gluten?
What's gluten anyways? Here's the fitbie definition:
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, as well as in many common food additives. It's what gives dough its elasticity and baked goods their satisfying chewiness. But for people with celiac disease—a type of autoimmune disorder—eating foods that contain gluten can lead to a cascade of nasty reactions, including damage to the small intestine, poor nutrient absorption, diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, anemia, and fatigue. Celiac disease is surprisingly common, affecting about one in every 133 people, according to an often-cited 2003 study from the University of Maryland center for celiac research.
For some, gluten is a big pain in the butt,:
while others take gluten lemons and make lemonade:
Even those who don't have Celiac disease may have a gluten sensitivity and are avoiding it all together; but if gluten doesn't bother you, should you avoid it anyways? Ever since Miley Cyrus emerged slim and trim and said she's been avoiding gluten and dairy due to allergies, people have been saying a gluten-free diet encourages weight loss but doctors say otherwise.
Here's my non-expert perspective: I'm allergic to dairy but it doesn't make me lose weight, it just limits my options. I could make poor health choices regardless of my intolerance and an article in Self agrees:
Rachel Begun, a registered dietitian and food industry consultant, told Today's Health that only those who have been diagnosed with a gluten-related disorder should go on a gluten-free diet.In fact, Begun said "People who go gluten-free may gain weight if they rely mostly on highly-processed gluten free foods, many of which tend to be higher in fat, calories and sugar than their gluten-containing counterparts."
Karen Ansel, also a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, agreed. "There’s absolutely no evidence that a gluten-free diet promotes weight loss," Ansel explained. "However, there is data that indicates that following a gluten-free diet can result in a diet that's low in key nutrients -- especially iron, zinc and B vitamins such as folate and niacin.”
Like anything, everyone has their own preferences and what works for one person may not work for another. I think there's too many differing opinions to make a definte decision, but if you think gluten is hurting your health then talk to your doctor. If not, keep making healthy decisions and partying in the USA.