The Gluten Myth?


Check out this post for my view on diets and health in general.
(Summary: Balance, Individuality and Grace)

The latest diet craze seems to be gluten-free eating. Ever since I first heard it popping up in everyday conversations I have been very skeptical. Why is gluten suddenly the enemy?

Now, admittedly, this is something I'm still researching. I've refrained from discussing it with people mostly because I don't know that much about it. If you can show me why gluten and wheat are detrimental to our health I'd be more than happy to listen, research and even change my opinion on the matter if the evidence is in your favor. But at the moment, I find the concept questionable.

I realize that there are people out there that can't do gluten because of specific dietary issues and restrictions. Whether it be crohn's disease, celiac disease, a wheat allergy or just gluten sensitivity---obviously sometimes gluten-free can be both necessary and healthy.

But in general? For the average person? I am not convinced.

I stumbled upon this article today and was intrigued by it's explanation for why people are going gluten-free. One reason that I've heard from people I know is that you'll lose weight. But it seems that isn't because gluten makes you gain weight so much as limiting your diet to gluten free cuts down your calories and often forces you to eat less processed foods (that use gluten as a binder).

Some quotes from the article:

"And then there's the idea that a gluten-free existence is the ticket to speedy weight loss. But...'there's nothing magical about a gluten-free diet that goings to help you lose weight.' What's really at work: Gluten-free dining can seriously limit the number of foods you can eat. With fewer choices, you're a lot less likely to overeat."

"This is where careful meal planning comes in, which may explain why some people feel so good when they go G-free: They're eating real food instead of ultraprocessed packaged fare."

Another article I read today talks about how one mom actually started gaining weight when she went gluten-free and found their gluten free lifestyle was not all all healthy.

Obviously this is just a couple of articles and there are plenty of people who disagree with it. Again, I think my challenge is for people to find balance with their eating habits rather than buy into extremes or fads. Diet crazes often have a lot of benefits but they rarely have absolute truth. There are usually healthy versions and unhealthy versions of most diets. You have to be able to recognize that and adjust accordingly to make sure no matter what sort of diet you have, you are getting the nutrients your body needs.

Personally, when it comes to the gluten debate, I am just skeptical that a piece of whole grain bread is worse for me than a Baby Ruth (which is in fact, gluten free).

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