07 6 / 2013
Every time I hear about another celebrity going gluten-free as a new weight loss diet, I cry a little bit inside. Not only is eating gluten-free more expensive due to the ‘fad’ status it has obtained, but people are much less careful when you say you need gluten-free food, because they figure you’re just joining the fad. For these celebrities, a gluten-free diet isn’t medically necessary. They’re choosing to start this diet in order to lose weight (we’ll get to the weight loss point in a minute). So if there’s cross-contamination, or the waiter makes a mistake and brings them the wrong food, it isn’t a big deal. But switch out that celebrity with someone who has celiac disease or gluten sensitivity and they could end up sick for days (trust me, it’s not pretty). For many people, it only takes a crumb to cause a reaction. So if the person preparing the food doesn’t wipe down the surface they’re using, or they prepare something with flour right next to your food, it can easily be contaminated.
As far as this whole ‘weight loss’ thing. Going gluten-free doesn’t mean you’ll lose weight. Most gluten comes in the form of carbs, and most carbs are made with gluten. If you cut out carbs, yes, you will lose weight. However, that is not a healthy weight loss solution. But most people who go gluten free don’t cut out carbs, they switch from gluten-filled carbs to gluten-free carbs. In that case you’re not guaranteed to lose weight because you’re still eating the same amount of carbohydrates. If you want to lose weight, eating a healthier diet and exercising is the way to go, not going gluten-free.
As a little sidenote, going gluten-free may cause you to lose or gain weight if you are gluten sensitive or celiac. Before I went off of gluten I was extremely underweight, and as soon as I went gluten-free I started gaining weight until I topped off at a nice healthy weight. I know others who are gluten sensitive or celiac who were overweight before going off gluten, and their gluten-free diet caused them to lose weight.
Really, the point I’m trying to make is that you shouldn’t go gluten-free because it’s a ‘fad’ and ‘all the stars are doing it’. You should consult a physician before cutting out gluten, as it is not the right choice for everyone. And if you do decide gluten-free is the right path for you, make sure you talk to your doctor about proper supplementation, as there are certain things in gluten that your body needs and those of us who are gluten-free must get in the form of supplements.
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