You know all the hype surrounding gluten-free eating? Forget about it
I think it’s fair to say that 2019 has been the year of the Keto diet. Keto products, apps that measure fat, cookbooks, and controversies have been top-of-mind in so many of my discussions with my clients. We talked about the keto diet and unpacked the way populate diets cycle through our culture. Coming behind the keto diet in terms of questions and interest is a gluten-free diet. Is a gluten-free diet the key to a healthier, happier you?
Gluten is found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye, and a cross between wheat and rye called triticale. Gluten is to be avoided or removed from your diet if you have been diagnosed with celiac disease, dermatitis herpetiformis, or a gluten-sensitivity. Celiac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis are both autoimmune disorders and affect those who cannot digest gluten. A gluten-sensitivity is an allergic reaction to gluten, and individuals diagnosed with this experience symptoms include diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and pain. For people who have these issues, a gluten-free diet will provide you with relief from the symptoms of these illnesses.
But what about the rest of us? Can we benefit from a reduction in gluten as well?
You know how we talked about trends like cleanses and detoxes that take your money and do little for you? Well, gluten-free is a $4 billion dollar business, being kept afloat by promises of wellness and weight loss. It’s a trendy diet and a quick fix. Why wouldn’t this industry promote the idea of gluten-free?
It won’t make you lose weight. Going gluten-free may mean that you will initially lose weight because you will be taking unhealthy carbohydrates (like cake, muffins, cookies, white bread, etc.) from your diet. There are far healthier and easier ways to lose weight than going gluten-free.
It isn’t a healthier way to eat. Cutting out wheat, rye, barley, and other grains that provide gluten eliminates some of the key sources of complex carbohydrates that we need in a balanced diet. You will also lose fibre, B vitamins, and folate. Gluten-free breads, cereals, and crackers may tend to be lower in fibre, are generally not fortified. Fortified products provide you with iron, calcium, and vitamin D. Gluten-free products are often higher in sugar and fat to compensate for a loss of texture and flavour.
If you know anyone who suffers from a medically-diagnosed gluten issue, and finds tiniest taste of gluten triggering debilitating gastrointestinal discomfort, they will let you know that this is a time consuming, expensive, and restrictive diet. Based on pseudo-science, trendiness, and consumerism, gluten-free is yet another way for us to remove important nutrients from our diets and celebrate quick fixes over long-term lifestyle changes.
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