We have all bought into the gluten-free trend and it’s not because we are all suffering with celiac disease. Gluten-free has gained a ton of popularity and it’s a rising star right now. If you see gluten free on a package it seems to be some kind of health food today. I want to talk about the real reason this is a trend and to offer information as to why you should or shouldn’t jump on the gluten free bandwagon.
What is fueling this food trend ? we have to turn to social media and celebrity influence and the food industry armed with the knowledge that they can charge top dollar for gluten free items. The trend is still growing so there is no slowing the food giants down as of yet.
Reality is that only 1 in 100 people have true celiac disease. The majority fear that they have gluten “intolerance”. The intolerance they claim to have comes from a protein that is inside rye, wheat and barley. Those people that have gluten intolerance claim to have symptoms that are similar to celiac disease but they do not have the actual intestinal tears that are found in celiac disease. This intolerance is called non-celiac gluten intolerance. What it can be compared to is IBS which is irritable bowel syndrome. In general when people start to avoid gluten, what they are really avoiding is refined and processed foods. They tend to eat a better, healthier diet so are they really gluten intolerant or is the cleaner, fresher, more varied diet the catalyst to reduce symptoms ?
Gluten hides in foods such as breads, pasta, cereal, sausages, cakes, packaged foods etc. When we used to go to the supermarket, it was very hard to find “gluten free” products and the only way to avoid it would be to eat a more healthy diet consisting of fruit and vegetables and proteins. Today your local grocery stores are stocked full of “gluten free” items and this makes it super easy to avoid gluten WHILE eating processed foods.
If the consumer actually has celiac disease, this is a perfect solution as they are the healthier version if you have a severe disease that is affected by eating gluten. For those of us that do not have celiac disease, we need to know that the food giants make the gluten free versions even more unhealthy than the regular versions as they need to increase sugar and fat to make their products edible and tasty. We think that we are eating a healthy version of the regular items when in reality we are eating something that is not going to help our health or our waistlines.
If you have celiac disease, going the gluten free route is necessary for your health. You will have a greater variety of foods you can eat. Of course, always try to make informed decisions and try to avoid processed foods as much as you can.
If you have gluten intolerance, go to the next step and get a test done to see if you have celiac disease. If you cut out the gluten completely and then go and get tested, you will not be able to get a diagnosis. You need to do the testing prior to eliminating gluten from the diet. If you are tested and you find out that you do not have celiac disease, you can still reduce gluten. All you need to do is avoid the cakes and cookies and breads and pastas.
If you don’t have any kind of symptoms after eating gluten but you still want to go gluten free, then I salute you. All you need to do is stop eating refined and processed foods. These are the foods which are causing the obesity epidemic anyways. Nobody needs a serving of processed fats and sugars and flours to keep them healthy. Don’t choose those gluten free boxed foods. Choose to go the healthy vegetable and protein route.
About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.
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