Coming to college, I have met several people who are celiac, meaning they can’t ingest gluten. I also have a friend who is not celiac, but believe that a gluten free diet can lead to weight lost and other benefits. And for a while, my mom thought it would be a beneficial idea to put me and my sisters and brother on a gluten free diet. But should people who aren’t celiac be gluten free?
Gluten free has become one of the trending diets. It is a diet some people in hollywood follow, which stars like Gwyneth Paltrow say lead to more energy and less bloating. Gluten is a protein found in mainly carbohydrates and gives bread its spongy feel and is used to thicken soups. For people who are celiac, gluten irritates the small intestine. When the tiniest particle of gluten enters someone’s body that is allergic to it, an immediate and horrible response is called on to it. The response attacks the small intestine, and due to this problems like gastrointestinal distress can happen over a period of time.
For people like that it is imperative they avoid gluten, but for people with no allergy should we just follow the trend? People along with stars like Paltrow claim that gluten free can cure headaches, chronic fatigue, and fibromyalgia. Some people find this to be true, but gluten free does not always work. Especially with weight loss, director of gastroenterology and nutrition, Marc DeMeo, at Adult Celiac Disease Program at Rush University Medical Center states ” There’s nothing magical about a gluten-free diet thats going to help you lose weight.” One thing that a gluten free diet does though is limit the amount of foods you can eat, which leads to a decrease in over eating. The other down side to this is the replacements for gluten. More fat and sugar is added to the food to make it more appealing to eat.
If you do choose to eat a gluten free diet when you don’t need to, there are some risks to it. You eat fewer foods with nutrients when gluten free, leading to deficiencies in calcium, iron, riboflavin, and thiamine. Also you consume less fiber, because there is a lot of fiber in foods like breads and cereals. You can also decrease the amount of bacteria in your gut which affects your immune system. It is also a financial and time consuming problem to deal with. Gluten free products can be more expensive than the regular version of the food, and are some times hard to find. You also have to pay close attention to food labels and do a lot of investigating in to products. Unfortunately too, gluten can be found in non food products like shampoos, medicines, and lotions.
It is highly recommended that you contact your physician if you feel that you have become celiac, and especially if you want to try a new diet. A gluten free diet is made for people that have no other choice than to not eat gluten. Gluten is a bad protein to certain people, but not for all. A gluten free diet does more damage than good for people who think its a great trend to follow. In conclusion, not everyone should go gluten free just because it is a new diet in our society.