It seems these days you can’t turn down the grocery store aisle or walk into a restaurant without an abundance of products stating they are “gluten free.” An article in the April 2011 issue of Good Housekeeping by Rachel Meltzer Warren (M.S., R.D.) addresses the issue of whether a gluten-free diet is wise.
A gluten-free diet is a must if a physician has tested you positive for celiac disease. This disease has serious effects on the intestines. People with celiac disease may suffer from nutrient deficiencies that can lead to symptoms such “diarrhea, skin rash, and depression, as well as long-term risk of intestinal cancer,” Warren wrote. For these people, maintaining a gluten-free diet is the only known way to maintain health and help reverse the harm done.
Consider a gluten-free diet if you have celiac-like symptoms, but have not been diagnosed. Many people find that they have“gluten sensitivity,” and reducing their intake of gluten can help manage chronic fatigue or joint pain. However, consulting a physician to get tested for celiac should be the first precaution. In addition to the initial testing, adapting to a gluten-free diet should be done under the guidance of a physician and/or nutritionist to create the best diet and find the best resolutions.
A gluten-free diet is not advised for those trying to lose weight. Weight control comes from calories in vs. calories out. In fact, many gluten-free products contain more calories than their gluten containing counterparts. There are no substitutions for a healthy diet and regular exercise. Also, those who switch to a gluten-free diet on a whim run the risk of consuming less fiber (see previous post for more benefits of fiber). Whole grains are a delicious and an essential part to proper nutrition and should not be avoided.
Discussion: Do you eat gluten-free? Are you eating gluten-free because of sensitivity? If you have sensitivity does oatmeal cause any reactions?