If you know me personally, you know that I’ve been gluten free for a while now (about five years, to be exact). Throughout that time, I’ve tried a few random elimination diets, exclusion diets, and even gluten challenges to identify what, specifically, was going on. I can honestly say I still don’t have a complete answer, but I’ve been doing this for a while now and my body has a definitive reaction to gluten, so I don’t eat it. But is this fad diet really good for you? The question many people are asking is:
Should I Be Eating Gluten?
The answer to that question really depends on whether you have any form of gluten sensitivity or not.
If you’re sensitive to gluten, the answer is NO
I can’t stress this enough, but if you’re highly sensitive to a food, you probably shouldn’t be eating it. Just because your adverse reaction isn’t anaphylaxis doesn’t mean that you should keep pushing your body. In order to find out whether you’re sensitive or not, though, you really should be diagnosed by your doctor. In order for your doc to find that sensitivity, you need to be eating wheat, so don’t just cut the carbs until you see your doctor. Your body will thank you when you don’t have to do a gluten challenge (I promise, if you’re actually sensitive, it’s miserable!)
But what if you’re not sensitive, you just think wheat is bad for you or gonna make you fat? If that’s the case, keep eating gluten! Maybe just moderate…
Gluten-free products are often less healthy than their gluten-full counterpart
If you’re going GF to try to lose weight, I got news for you, it (probably) ain’t gonna happen! People who lose weight from going GF tend to trim down because of the low-carb aspect of the diet. If you head to your grocery store and buy a ton of GF bread, GF cookies, and GF pretzels, you’re not doing your waistline any favors. These products often contain more sugar and more fat to compensate for the lack of gluten-y goodness and the change in texture from using different flour. They also tend to lack a lot of the nutrients that you could get from a whole grain option. This can lead to malnourishment which is probably worse for your body than being a few pounds over your goal weight.
Gluten free options tend to be pricier
You don’t want to see my monthly grocery bill (for one person). It’s scary. The gluten free options can be over five times as expensive than their regular counterpart. Take Oreos for example. A regular 19.1 oz bag of the chocolaty goodness will cost you about $3.50 on Amazon and the double stuffed are even cheaper. The gluten free version, K-Toos, will cost you about $5.50 for an 8-ounce bag. Sure, that’s junk food, but it holds for many things. So if you don’t need to eat gluten free, why would you make your wallet money free?
Gluten can hide in many places
I often find myself having to explain to people why I have to ask for gluten free soy sauce when we go out for sushi or why I ask about the caramel syrup I put in my coffee. Hidden gluten is everywhere! Guys, I have to read the nutrition facts on the back of chocolate! Unless you’re seriously dedicated, removing all gluten from your diet is tough. So if you are dead set on reducing your carb intake, just call it that! Because most of the people who lose weight and get healthy on a gluten-free diet only lose that weight because of the reduction in carbs.
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I will say, it’s been nice to have more options in the super market because of the new fad diet where gluten=bad, but this diet has also made it harder for people to be trusted when they say they actually can’t eat gluten. I’ve found myself being very cautious of the restaurants where I eat and the food that I buy. If you’re going to go gluten free for whatever reason, do your research. Make sure you know where there’s gluten (hint: it’s in a lot of things you wouldn’t think of, such as soy and BBQ sauce). Don’t be jerks to your waiters and waitresses about your new found diet (I mean, don’t be jerks to them anyway, but…) and make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.
Do you eat gluten? What kind of food have you thought of cutting for a fad diet?
As always, I am not a medical professional nor am I your medical professional, so you should always check with your doctor about what’s best for you and your lifestyle when it comes to health advice.