Millions of people have cut gluten from their diets in the latest ‘ditch-a-food trend’. Many of these people have a genuine need to do this, they live with coeliac disease or another similar allergy whilst many more are simply jumping on another celebrity fad. Jennifer Lawrence famously called it ‘’the new cool eating disorder’ and so if you don’t have a gluten allergy do you need to be giving up gluten?
As well as being taken up by health conscious celebs like Gwyneth and Victoria Beckham, the gluten free industry has become big money with many food brands created simply to offer gluten free solutions. This is all good for people living with the serious condition that coeliac disease is but many other people are just throwing their cash at another fad and hoping it’ll change their lives.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein which is found in wheat products and in many other grains including rye and spelt. It’s the substance which makes dough stretchy and it is often put into other processed foods as a thickening agent.
Gluten causes coeliac disease in some people and can lead to painful abdominal issues, bloating and many other uncomfortable symptoms. A diet free of gluten can completely clear up these symptoms and make it easier for people with coeliac disease. A very small percentage of people have this condition and a slightly larger percentage of people have a gluten sensitivity but for most people, gluten is fine, your body will process it and realistically needs it as much as any other nutrient.
The issue with going gluten free is the reasons behind the decision. Many women are opting to cut out gluten hoping it will help them lose weight or become healthier and neither of these things is likely.
Gluten Free Doesn’t Equal Healthy
Unless you need to be gluten free then there are no clear health benefits for making the change. Many gluten free food options have less health benefits than their alternatives and are also less nutritious. Gluten free foods tend to have higher carbs, fats and lower protein levels, which isn’t a great choice for your overall health. Avoiding gluten may set you up for nutritional deficiencies and a less healthy lifestyle than before.
Gluten free also isn’t a healthy choice for your bank balance. Research has found gluten free foods are about 242% more expensive than regular foods on average.
Gluten Free Doesn’t Equal Weight Loss
There are plenty of people seriously overweight and avoiding gluten. It isn’t going to stop you getting fat and as it says above, gluten free foods may be packed with refined carbs, extra fats and missing vital proteins which are key to successful weight loss.
You may choose a gluten free diet as part of your healthy lifestyle and see results but trust us, on its own it wasn’t the answer. There is no evidence that gluten or wheat ‘makes you fat’ so don’t buy into the fad. It was something else last week that was the reason people are overweight, rather than the fact that most people are just eating too much crap.
Quitting Bread isn’t the Same as Quitting Gluten
Making the choice to cut out bread and pasta from your diet isn’t the same as not eating gluten. Gluten is so many different foods and even products such as toothpaste. Yes, you’re going to see weight loss without bread and pasta in your diet but that’s probably because you were eating them to excess before and not because you’ve quit the killer gluten.
It’s sad to say it but there is no secret to weight loss and a healthy lifestyle. You’ve just got to give it all you’ve got, commit to eating sensibly and exercise. It may be boring but your body will thank you for it. Gluten is not the bad guy here, unless you’re unlucky enough to have a serious allergy or intolerance.