Goodbye Gluten: Healthy or dangerous?

More and more grocery and health food stores stock gluten-free products. That’s good news for people with celiac disease, who in fear of small intestine damage should not eat wheat with gluten.

But most of the people who go for gluten-free products don’t have celiac disease and or even a sensitivity to wheat.  Peter H.R. Green, MD, director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, stated. “The market for gluten-free products is exploding. Why exactly we don’t know. Many people may just perceive that a gluten-free diet is healthier.”

But, if unnecessary, going gluten-free may not be the healthy option.

True, many products such as fast food and cookies have gluten in them and cutting those specific gluten-inclusive foods would be good for one’s health, but unless you’re careful, your diet will probably be lacking in important vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Some people may be sensitive to gluten but don’t have outright celiac disease. These people may feel better on a diet with less gluten.

foodpic_naturallygffoodsSo what’s wrong with the rest of us trying a gluten-free diet to see how we feel? There are a lot of healthy gluten free foods out there but for starters, going gluten-free means saying no to many foods that you may not have bargained on. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Gluten also shows up in many whole grain foods related to wheat. Some doctors warn gluten-sensitive patients to steer clear of oats, as well. Also, many gluten free foods are actually not as healthy as their normal gluten-inclusive versions. To make up for the gluten, manufacturers add Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and sugars. In addition these gluten free foods are more expensive.

Some examples of things you’d be missing on a gluten free diet:

-Whole grains
-Seasoned or frozen veggies/meat
-Toothpaste
-Soup
-Some medications and vitamins
-Play dough

That’s a minimal list of (good) things you’d be missing. And then there’s also the fact that cookies, cakes, pastries, chips, etc. all contain gluten unless otherwise labeled. If you want to go gluten-free, go to your doctor and get tested for celiac disease/gluten sensitivity. Many celebrities endorse this diet (and get a bundle from gluten-free food manufacturers) as the reason that they weigh like ninety pounds and have .500% body fat. Chances are, a gluten free diet will not give you Beyonce’s butt or thighs or Katy Perry’s stomach, and unless you have a sensitivity, will not make you healthier at all. And also, gluten free foods tend to cost more. That’s it, and remember, before you cut out gluten, check if this is the best option for your body.