The New Gluten-Free Trend


According to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, only about one percent of the population actually suffers from Celiac disease.  On the contrary a huge amount of the population has begun incorporating a gluten free aspect into their diets, whether in hopes of losing weight or for falsely believing they have developed a gluten allergy.

What people are not understanding is that a celiac disease is both a disease of malabsorption and abnormal immune reaction to gluten.  If they eat gluten, their immune system responds by damaging or destroying villi—the tiny, finger like protrusions lining the small intestine.  Without the villi one can become malnourished no matter how much the individual eats.  Furthermore, the disease cannot tolerate gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, and barley, which not only appears in breads, but also salad dressings, gravies, soy sauces, beer, soups and stews, broth, lunch meats, and dozens of others.

The fact of the matter is that all the gluten free products seen on shelves today are meant for those suffering from Celiac disease.  According to professionals, adopting a gluten free diet will have significant health risks, and likely advances into weight gain instead of weight loss.

Any time you eliminate whole categories of food you’ve been used to eating, you run the risk of nutritional deficiencies.  Gluten itself doesn’t offer any nutritional benefits, however the whole grains that include gluten do.  They contain an array of vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins and iron, as well as fiber. Therefore, decreasing the amount of whole-grains in a diet can decrease the spectrum of nutrients taken in that are vital to the human body.

Also important to note to those not actually suffering from celiac disease, is what gluten free products are made of.  With an absence of gluten, foods become high in fats and sugars.  “People who cut out all gluten-containing products like pasta, cookies and bagels will likely lose weight,” Marina Stauffer Bedrossian, a a registered dietitian with St. Catherine of Siena Hospital in Smithtown said. “However, if you substitute those foods for gluten-free foods that are equal in calories, you will not lose weight. It comes down to total calories consumed not the actual gluten aspect.”

People who aren’t suffering from celiac disease need to realize the pros and cons of changing their diets and accept the fact that there are much healthier ways to lose weight.  A better alternative would be incorporating healthier grains into their diet like farro and quinoa and leave the gluten-free foods to those who depend on it.