Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Victoria Beckham, Gwenyth Paltrow and Zoe Deschanel. These are just some of the many celebrities that have stamped the new fad of gluten-free diets with their seal of approval.
However, to say that gluten-free diets are ‘just a fad’ would be to disregard a very small percentage of the population that actually suffer from celiac disease. People with celiac disease have immune systems that over respond to gluten, which leads to malnutrition and possibly infertility and low bone density.
According to Celiac Central, the national foundation for celiac awareness, only 1 in 133 Americans actually have celiac disease. This works out to be only one percent of the American population.
So if only one percent of Americans need to be on a gluten-free diets–the only cure for people with celiac disease–why does there seem to be an epidemic of this new trendy diet?
Firstly, there seems to be a misunderstanding of the food label “Gluten-free” that is plastered on almost every food in the organic section of the supermarket. The term gluten-free is not a synonym for health or for weight loss.
It needs to be understood when gluten is extracted from foods where gluten occurs naturally, it is often replaced with other ingredients that are even more damaging to your body.
However, people see Miley Cyrus and the way she looks, and associate that directly with her gluten-free diet. Although gluten free diets might inspire people to eat cleaner and “fresher”, Miley Cyrus’ tiny stature is not solely because she has cut gluten from her diet.
In a recent interview on the Tonight Show with Seth Myers, Dr. Oz shared his opinion on this new craze.
“It’s complete BS. It’s a scam,” Oz said.
All vegetables, fruits, wine, chocolate, nuts, beans, meat, fish and rice are all gluten-free. However, these products are still labeled “gluten-free” on packaging. It is ludicrous to think that chocolate labeled gluten-free is healthier or better for your body than a regular Hershey’s bar.
But, if you want to cut gluten from your diet, and if you think it helps you, then by all means spend the extra money and effort to dedicate yourself to that lifestyle.
What is more bizarre than thinking gluten-free equals weight loss, is believing that gluten is actually bad for your body. There are also some articles circulating the Internet that state gluten is linked to Autism.
If there is one thing that my high school science class taught me it is that ‘relation does not equal causation.’
There are no peer reviewed scientific articles that conclusively state that eating gluten will cause you or your children to develop Autism.
Ultimately, it is important for people to understand that gluten is not going to destroy your body if you do not have celiac disease. It will not cause you to develop Autism. And it will not lead to weight gain. It is a naturally occurring part of foods and cutting it from your diet completely is unnecessary.
Written by: Anna Hoffman