Considering going on a gluten-free diet? Surely you’ve noticed that over the past 10 years gluten-free foods have slowly taken over our grocery stores. GFD excludes the protein gluten, which is found in grains (wheat, barley, rye). Just about every kind of food today has a gluten-free version. The treatment for the 1 in 100 people around the world living with celiac disease is now being disguised as a food trend. Yet, over a million Americans are following GFD who don’t have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity to treat. The question is, is a GFD good for everyone?
A surprising truth is that there is no evidence that a GFD means a healthier you. If you’re just replacing grains and sweets, you won’t see much of a change in weight or energy like some myths point out about the diet. In fact, you’re actually putting yourself a risk by cutting out this major component of your diet. GFD can lead to deficiencies in iron, folate, and calcium among others. “A gluten-free label doesn’t necessarily mean healthy,” said nutrition strategist Rachel Begun, MS, RDN. An apple and a gluten-free pastry do not have the same nutritional value. So there is no guaranteed weight loss or increase in natural energy because of selecting gluten-free options.
If you do decide to opt-in for GFD, consider supplementing the vitamins you need in whole grain while increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat. Rather than choosing for the gluten-free options, move on to a more well-balanced meal choice with healthier ingredients.