Is Gluten-Free Good for You?

According to many health experts there is no proven benefit for going gluten-free, unless you’re one of a small number of people whose bodies can’t digest the protein, or are sensitive to it. For people with celiac disease gluten triggers an autoimmune response that damages their intestines. Others are sensitive to gluten and experience some digestive discomfort.

Weight-Loss. Many people take up a gluten-free diet to lose weight. According to Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, “ten years ago a gluten-free diet would have helped you lose weight simply because you would have cut out a lot products like bread and muffins”. This is no longer the case because there are now gluten-free varieties of most junk food and snacks. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that we eat an average of 459 more calories a day than we did 40 years ago, and that more than a third of adults in the U.S. are obese. We all know of someone who has benefited from cutting out gluten, and even a few who have lost weight doing so. You can be sure these people also avoided doughnuts or other such calorie-laden foods.

What should you do? A gluten-free diet is best followed by those few who have a medical condition. Make informed decisions by reading the ingredients listed on those food labels, looking beyond their claims. Compare the nutritional value and calories to the regular product. Gluten is found in wheat, barley or rye – notice how some foods that are labeled gluten-free never included gluten in the first place! Are you following a gluten-free diet? Why, and how has it helped ?

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