(Before I go any further, yes that is a mediocre R.E.M. joke, how do you like that Kenneth?)
Anyhow, today I wanted to look into a topic that I have seen everywhere but know very little about. Gluten.
Chances are you’ve noticed, because I certainly have, that suddenly Gluten free products are popping up all over the place. I even recently noticed a whole Gluten free section in my local grocery store. According to Eating Well’s article, “Should You Go Gluten Free?”,
Packaged Facts [states that] 1,182 new gluten-free foods and beverages were introduced in 2008, continuing an average 33 percent annual increase since 2004.
So yeah, they’re started to pop up all over the place. But why? Well, there seem to be a few reasons. The top reason being something called Celiac disease. PubMed Health describes Celiac disease as
a condition that damages the lining of the small intestine and prevents it from absorbing parts of food that are important for staying healthy. The damage is due to a reaction to eating gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, rye, and possibly oats.
Reading that, it’s clear why those who suffer from this disease are forced to go gluten free. In addition to this, some articles seem to point toward the possibility that Celiac disease, while difficult to diagnose, is being diagnosed more frequently and that this is a reflection of the fact that as many as 1 in 100 Americans may suffer from this disease.
However, there seems to be more to the new proliferation of gluten free food than just those who are required to avoid the grain-made protein.
Health.com’s Sean Kelly asked the same question in his article, “Why Would Anyone Go on a Gluten-Free Diet if He Didn’t Have To?”. And it looks like we’ve come to the same conclusion:
People who don’t have either condition are cutting gluten out of their diet in an effort to lose weight and cleanse their system. And that could lead to health problems—and even weight gain.
Diet schemes! Not like this is a surprising answer but what is more surprising is just how bad a gluten-free diet can be if you don’t have the disease. Many of our gluten-filled foods are sources for vitamins and minerals that are important for us to eat, a problem that those with Celiac’s have to face by filling in with the often more expensive gluten-free alternatives.
What’s worse though, is that going gluten-free can actually make it harder to diagnose if you do have Celiac disease.
So, while the “Gluten-Free Cooking for Dummies,” people want you to know that going gluten-free might make you less farty, among other things, they don’t tell you to remember your common sense.
If you do want to go gluten-free, it sounds like your first step should be talking to a doctor or a nutritionist to understand the repercussions of your actions.
So, what do you think? Do you know anyone who has done the gluten-free routine as a diet? As a lifestyle? Would you try it?