Is a Gluten-free Diet Bad for You?
Experts are now chiming in, saying that following a gluten-free diet if you don’t have celiac disease may cause health problems and even (gasp!) weight gain. While they acknowledge that going gluten-free is completely necessary for those who have been properly diagnosed– via blood work and a biopsy– with celiac disease, apparently those of use with wheat intolerance or wheat allergy who choose to avoid foods containing gluten are shooting ourselves in the foot, health-wise. Huh?
Their basis for this claim is the assumption that everyone who goes gluten-free is immediately replacing foods containing gluten with expensive, highly processed gluten-free look-alike products which have no dietary fiber, fewer vitamins and minerals, too much sugar and salt, and chemical preservatives.
Perhaps, in modern western culture, that isn’t too much of a stretch; as a society, our eating habits are appalling. But I’d like to think that those of us who’ve been hit over the head with wheat intolerance and other food allergies and intolerances are, as a group, a little more thoughtful about what we put into our bodies. If you have wheat intolerance and your body weight is a concern, when you cut out foods containing gluten and replace them with fresh vegetables, fruits, and gluten-free whole grains… you WILL lose weight. You WILL feel better than you did when you were stressing your body by running gluten through it almost every day. Why on earth wouldn’t you feel better?
If you don’t have any problems with wheat or gluten, do you need to go gluten free? Well, of course not! (Though you still might want to think about the fruits/vegetables/whole grains thing. Seriously.) Would it hurt you to cut out foods containing gluten? Obviously, it depends on how you replace them. Eat foods that are better for you than the wheat-y stuff you ate before, and you’ll be healthier. Eat stuff that’s worse for you than what you gave up, and you’ll be less healthy.
It’s really not rocket science, folks. Eat healthy; be healthy. If that means gluten-free for you, then go for it, and don’t let the ‘experts’ tell you differently.
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