Is a Gluten Free Diet Healthy for You?

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Everyone seems to be going gluten free. It’s becoming very popular with celebrities and there are tons of products in the grocery store proudly proclaiming that they’re gluten free. Lots of people are claiming they are healthier from this way of eating.

Well, gluten free is definitely healthier for 2 groups of people. See if you fit into one of these groups. The first group is people with celiac disease. You won’t be able to tolerate the amount of gluten in one small crouton if you have celiac disease.

The second group is people with gluten sensitivity. If this is you, you’ll have many of the same symptoms as those with celiac disease except that gluten won’t actually damage your intestine.

To see if you belong to one of these groups, get your blood tested – before removing gluten from your life. It’s really important to get your blood tested while you’re still eating gluten! If you take out gluten for a while and then get tested, your results may not be accurate.

Who shouldn’t go gluten free:

Everyone else. Seriously. If you don’t belong to one of those groups, the experts say you actually should have gluten in your meals.

Is there actually something wrong with a gluten-free diet?

Probably. Whenever you start eliminating a food group from your diet, you run the danger of having problems. Obviously, this doesn’t apply to people who belong to one of the groups mentioned above. Their danger is in having gluten. For the rest of us, though, let’s look at what a gluten free diet means.

When you eliminate gluten, you eliminate whole wheat products. What’s wrong with that? Well, that means you’re eliminating grains which give you fiber, minerals, and B vitamins. You can get fiber from sources such as brown rice, quinoa, vegetables, and fruits but it will take more of an effort to make sure you’re getting enough. Most North Americans don’t get enough fiber as it is, so getting rid of one of the primary sources of fiber can set you up for problems with your bowels. Breads made from tapioca, white rice, and other gluten free flours usually don’t have vitamins added. Everyone needs these vitamins. (Jaret, 2011)

There are two more reasons to not go gluten free. The first is that gluten improves the taste of foods and gives them a better texture. When you take out gluten then you have to add in something else. What is usually added in? Sugars and fat. So now, this supposedly healthy food can actually be worse for you. Sugar and fat are culprits which can set you up for obesity, diabetes, and heart problems. Gluten, on the other hand, can help to lower your triglycerides; triglycerides are a type of fat that is stored in your fat cells.

The last reason to not go gluten free is because it’s expensive. Why would you want to pay more money for something that’s not necessary and doesn’t make sense for you?

To sum up going gluten free, from an expert on gluten: “People who are sensitive to gluten may feel better, but a larger portion will derive no significant benefit from the practice. They’ll simply waste their money, because these products are expensive,” says Dr. Daniel A. Leffler, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and director of clinical research at Boston’s Celiac Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Hmmm, interesting. An expert from a celiac center says you’ll get no significant benefit. (Strawbridge, 2013)

For people with gluten problems all these gluten-free options are a wonderful blessing. For the majority of us, though, we can be healthier if we thoroughly enjoy all those healthy foods with gluten in them.