You see it everywhere; there are gluten-free pancakes, cookies and even flour. The production of gluten-free items was initially created for individuals with celiac disease and severe allergies to gluten.
Over three million Americans suffer from celiac, which is an inherited autoimmune disorder that affects the small intestine’s ability to digest foods that pass through.
For people who have the disease, going gluten-free is a must due to the extreme sensitivity to wheat.
But what about going gluten-free to lose weight or maintain a healthier diet? It’s not always best to follow the trends, according to Geng Zong, a researcher at Harvard University. He claims that eliminating gluten from your diet can rob your body of beneficial nutrients found in whole grains, which have been found to fight type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Zong goes on to note that when you cut gluten from your diet your risk of chronic diseases rises.
Traditionally gluten-free food items cost considerably more than their gluten counterparts, and Zong points out that people are generally okay with spending more money on foods that are deemed healthy. However these pricey gluten-free products are not always the best option.
ABC 7 news advises that in addition to losing the nutrients found in whole grains, there’s much more processing involved in foods that are made specifically to be gluten-free. It doesn’t take a Harvard researcher to tell you that processed foods are less desirable. It’s recommended that you eat three servings of whole grains per day as part of a balanced diet.
Holistic health coach Mary McAlary says gluten-free diets aren’t for everyone. “If you do not have celiac and you do not have gluten sensitivity, why go gluten-free?” she said.
For folks who want to lose weight, a healthy diet loaded with low-fat proteins, whole grains and lots of fruits and vegetables is typically the best option.