The gluten-free diet is a hot, controversial topic these days. It works great for me, but I rarely substitute toward highly processed gluten-free alternatives that are increasingly prevalent in stores and restaurants. By eating gluten free I commit to a healthier lifestyle because it removes highly caloric, high in sodium foods, and most junk foods like bread, soy sauce and burgers from my radar when I’m deciding what to eat.
Recently Yahoo news and Live Science published “Most People Shouldn’t Eat Gluten-Free”, an article featuring two nutritionists who declared that if you don’t have celiac disease you’re not likely to benefit from a gluten-free diet. The dietician was also quoted as saying: “There’s nothing magical about eliminating gluten that results in weight loss,” Mangieri said. Any of us that eliminates or removes cookies and candies from our diets, and replaces them with fruits and vegetables is going to feel better.”
I take issue with the title of the article publicizing a blanket statement that non-celiacs are not likely to benefit from this diet. Also, last I checked, many candies do not contain gluten, so I have no idea why that nutritionist even mentions them in the article. But However, she does have a point that foods that contain gluten are often highly processed and also contain excess sugar or sodium content. Also, most products made specifically “gluten-free” are just as processed and should be avoided. Just because a particular candy bar is gluten free does not mean it is healthy!
A study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry just three months prior to this Yahoo article found that a gluten-free diet may lead to decreased risk factors for obesity. The same study states that a gluten-free diet has already been proven to be beneficial for decreasing risk factors in numerous other diseases. And these studies did not limit other food intake for patients! Although such research does not yet prove that avoiding gluten does improve outcomes of people predisposed or suffering from such diseases, I could not find any studies that say that avoiding gluten is harmful to people.
Until I decided against eating gluten, cookies and breadbaskets were much more tempting. Gluten free also made me eat more foods that have a low glycemic load and thus reduced my hunger afterward. From taking a couple of “breaks” in avoiding gluten and continuing most other healthy habits, I have found that I feel a lot more energized and upbeat when avoiding gluten. Every body is different, but I have been happy to give up bread and cookies as a way to moderate portions without sacrificing satiety.