In recent times gluten free diets have been touted as the best way to lose weight with celebs and the hoi polloi alike recommending the gluten free lifestyle as being a way to a slimmer body and higher energy levels.
Gluten free diets are medically indicated only in cases when a person has celiac disease (a chronic digestive disorder).
Such a diet may also be suitable for people with certain food allergies or sensitivities. However the diet has become popular for weight loss claims made by it.
In spite of the popularity of gluten free diets, are they really effective; are they in fact good for health?
Though many may swear by these diets, there are problems that are associated with consuming little or no gluten – several nutrients such as folate, iron, thiamine, calcium and riboflavin may be supplied to the body in inadequate quantities if a gluten free diet is strictly followed.
Also there may be a significant shortfall in the amount of fiber consumed which is really good for the body as well.
A recent article on MSN Health considered the issue – whether gluten is bad for the body and how it is now touted as an antidote to migraines, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia among others and also, significantly as a way to weight loss.
If gluten free diets are seen to lead to weight loss, there is a simple reason for this according to Mark DeMeo, M.D., director of gastroenterology and nutrition at the Adult Celiac Disease Program at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago – when on such a diet there are so many things that one cannot eat that it is bound to restrict caloric intake.
So does a gluten free diet make sense? Until a decade ago, gluten was unknown, and most experts believe that gluten is not bad for you; that it should form a part of balanced diet; and that it is just a variation of all the many low carb diets around.
Also many so called gluten–free foods may actually be higher in fat and in calories so it may actually backfire as a means of weight loss.
Unless a person has medical reasons to be off gluten, there is really no medical reason to go on a gluten free diet. Also it can be very difficult to find gluten free foods since it is this that makes food palatable and is typically added to most foods.