Nutrition & Health

Should You Go Gluten Free?


If you pay attention to labels (food and other), you’ll find gluten free written almost everywhere. On a bag of chips or candy, or even makeup products. It leads you to believe that gluten is something that is bad for you, and should be avoided, and this has become a marketing tool over the past few years.

First off, what is gluten? Gluten is protein that is found in wheat products, like spelt, farro, wheat, rye, or barley, and is a “glue” that holds the product together. So chances are if it doesn’t have wheat in it, it would probably already be gluten free.

Gluten is not harmful to most people. The only time a gluten free diet is recommended is if a person suffers from celiac disease, has a wheat allergy, or a gluten sensitively. For these people, when gluten is consumed they can suffer intestinal damage or abdominal pain. It is only under serious circumstances, which requires a lot of maintenance efforts due to strict restrictions, is a gluten free diet medically recommended. If you don’t have a gluten disease or sensitivity, having a gluten free diet can lead to a loss of beneficial nutrients. Many gluten free products that are made with refined grains can be lower in fiber, minerals and many vitamins. Many whole grains, which have gluten, are a good source of these nutrients.

A lot of people who do go on a gluten free diet may experience weight loss but weight loss in not causal to a gluten free diet. People who go gluten free oftentimes cut out certain desserts, junk food, and breads. This can cause the weight loss to be mistakenly linked to being gluten free.

Many gluten free dieters can be deficient in fiber, iron, folate, niacin, thiamine, calcium, vitamin B12, phosphorus and zinc. To be gluten free you have to be very knowledgeable in where to obtain lost nutrients when cutting out many whole grains from your diet and following up with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, RDN, is recommended. If you do not suffer from celiac disease, a wheat allergy, or a gluten sensitivity omitting gluten from your diet is likely to lead to a loss of benefits rather than a gain.

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