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Let’s Talk Gluten
By: Rachel Mostek
With summer fast approaching, it’s easy to fall for the new and trendy diets
promising unrealistic results in no time. As you have heard time and time again,
diets don’t work. There is no such thing as a quick fix, no matter how much a
product or diet plan will try and convince you.
Fad diets including the
gluten-free diet is no different.
This diet should only be followed if
you have a preexisting gluten
intolerance or if you have Celiac
Disease. Going gluten free is often
marketed as a quick way to lose
weight. While the fact is, gluten-
free products can often contain
more fat and sugar than
comparable gluten-containing
products. All of this added fat and
sugar could actually lead to weight
gain instead of weight loss.
But what is gluten? Gluten is actually a protein found in wheat, rye, and
barley. The gluten found in products can often have adverse affects if you have a
gluten intolerance. Additionally, if you have Celiac Disease, gluten causes an immune
response inhibiting other nutrients from being absorbed. Although these
complications to gluten are serious only 6% of the U.S. population have gluten
intolerances and only 1% have Celiac Disease.1 It has been shown people often think
they have a gluten intolerance even when they don’t. In a study surveying almost
400 patients who all thought they had gluten intolerances, 86% turned out not to be
intolerate.2 Even though only a small portion of the population can’t tolerate gluten,
over 30% adhere to a gluten-free diet in the United States.3 In another study, 1000
athletes who were partaking in a gluten-free diets did so because they believed it
was healthier than a diet containing gluten.4 It is clear there is a large amount of
misunderstanding surrounding gluten.
Removing gluten is not always the answer. A gluten-free diet can be hard to
maintain and you may be robbing yourself of essential nutrients. Gluten free items
are often lacking in fiber, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin D and multiple B
vitamins.5 These nutrients play many roles in helping our bodies function properly
and efficiently. If you do have a gluten intolerance or Celiac Disease, it’s important to
talk to a Registered Dietitian to avoid nutrient deficiencies.
Gluten free items often have more sugar and more fat added to the products
in order to make up for flavor. In a study focused on the perceptions around gluten
free products, people generally knew the products were for people with gluten
intolerances or Celiac Disease, but they also believed the items were healthier than
gluten containing products.6 Consequently manufacturers are taking advantage of
this belief by raising the prices of many gluten-free products.
So now what? You may be wondering where to go from here if you finally
thought you found the best diet ever. It’s important to remember to be wary of fad
diets and diets claiming to give unrealistic results. These fad diets are often
accompanied with supplements, which cost a bunch of money. Also any diet that has
very high amounts of certain foods or eliminates foods is often a sign that it is a fad
diet and should be avoided. When in doubt, remember moderation is key. Listen to
your body. Eat when you feel hungry. Stop eating when you’re almost full.
Eliminating certain foods and food group often makes the desire to eat them even
higher. This can lead to over-consuming the sought after item. Therefore no food
should ever be off limits if it doesn’t need to be. So go ahead and have your gluten-
filled bread and eat it too.
References:
1. Celiac Disease Center. The University of Chicago Medicine Web site.
http://www.uchospitals.edu/specialties/celiac/. Updated 2016. Accessed
February 22, 2016.
2. Lis DM, Stellingwerff T, Shing CM, Ahuia KD, Fell JW. Exploring the
popularity, experiences, and beliefs surrounding gluten-free diets in
nonceliac athletes. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2015; 25(1):37-45. Doi:
10.1123/ijsnem.2013-0247.
3. Percentage of U.S. Adults Trying to Cut Down or Avoid Gluten in Their Diets
Reaches New High in 2013. National Purchase Diary.
https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/news/press-
releases/percentage-of-us-adults-trying-to-cut-down-or-avoid-gluten-in-
their-diets-reaches-new-high-in-2013-reports-npd/. Published March 6,
2013. Accessed February 22, 2016.
4. Capannolo A, Viscido A, Barkad MA, et al. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity among
patients perceiving gluten-related symptoms. Digestion. 2015; 92(1):8-13.
Doi:10.1159/000430090.
5. Kupper C. Dietary guidelines and implementation for celiac disease.
Gastroenterology.2005; 128 (4 Suppl 1):S121-7.
Doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2005.02.024.
6. Dunn C, House L, Shelnutt KP. Consumer perceptions of gluten-free products
and the healthfulness of gluten-free diets. Journal of Nutrition Education and
Behavior. 2014; 46(4) S184-S185.
Picture Citation:
Dbreen. https://pixabay.com/en/bread-roll-loaf-food-bakery-fresh-1081078/
Let’s Talk Gluten

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Let’s Talk Gluten

  • 1. Let’s Talk Gluten By: Rachel Mostek With summer fast approaching, it’s easy to fall for the new and trendy diets promising unrealistic results in no time. As you have heard time and time again, diets don’t work. There is no such thing as a quick fix, no matter how much a product or diet plan will try and convince you. Fad diets including the gluten-free diet is no different. This diet should only be followed if you have a preexisting gluten intolerance or if you have Celiac Disease. Going gluten free is often marketed as a quick way to lose weight. While the fact is, gluten- free products can often contain more fat and sugar than comparable gluten-containing products. All of this added fat and sugar could actually lead to weight gain instead of weight loss. But what is gluten? Gluten is actually a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. The gluten found in products can often have adverse affects if you have a gluten intolerance. Additionally, if you have Celiac Disease, gluten causes an immune response inhibiting other nutrients from being absorbed. Although these complications to gluten are serious only 6% of the U.S. population have gluten intolerances and only 1% have Celiac Disease.1 It has been shown people often think they have a gluten intolerance even when they don’t. In a study surveying almost 400 patients who all thought they had gluten intolerances, 86% turned out not to be intolerate.2 Even though only a small portion of the population can’t tolerate gluten, over 30% adhere to a gluten-free diet in the United States.3 In another study, 1000 athletes who were partaking in a gluten-free diets did so because they believed it was healthier than a diet containing gluten.4 It is clear there is a large amount of misunderstanding surrounding gluten. Removing gluten is not always the answer. A gluten-free diet can be hard to maintain and you may be robbing yourself of essential nutrients. Gluten free items are often lacking in fiber, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin D and multiple B vitamins.5 These nutrients play many roles in helping our bodies function properly and efficiently. If you do have a gluten intolerance or Celiac Disease, it’s important to talk to a Registered Dietitian to avoid nutrient deficiencies.
  • 2. Gluten free items often have more sugar and more fat added to the products in order to make up for flavor. In a study focused on the perceptions around gluten free products, people generally knew the products were for people with gluten intolerances or Celiac Disease, but they also believed the items were healthier than gluten containing products.6 Consequently manufacturers are taking advantage of this belief by raising the prices of many gluten-free products. So now what? You may be wondering where to go from here if you finally thought you found the best diet ever. It’s important to remember to be wary of fad diets and diets claiming to give unrealistic results. These fad diets are often accompanied with supplements, which cost a bunch of money. Also any diet that has very high amounts of certain foods or eliminates foods is often a sign that it is a fad diet and should be avoided. When in doubt, remember moderation is key. Listen to your body. Eat when you feel hungry. Stop eating when you’re almost full. Eliminating certain foods and food group often makes the desire to eat them even higher. This can lead to over-consuming the sought after item. Therefore no food should ever be off limits if it doesn’t need to be. So go ahead and have your gluten- filled bread and eat it too. References: 1. Celiac Disease Center. The University of Chicago Medicine Web site. http://www.uchospitals.edu/specialties/celiac/. Updated 2016. Accessed February 22, 2016. 2. Lis DM, Stellingwerff T, Shing CM, Ahuia KD, Fell JW. Exploring the popularity, experiences, and beliefs surrounding gluten-free diets in nonceliac athletes. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2015; 25(1):37-45. Doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.2013-0247. 3. Percentage of U.S. Adults Trying to Cut Down or Avoid Gluten in Their Diets Reaches New High in 2013. National Purchase Diary. https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/news/press- releases/percentage-of-us-adults-trying-to-cut-down-or-avoid-gluten-in- their-diets-reaches-new-high-in-2013-reports-npd/. Published March 6, 2013. Accessed February 22, 2016. 4. Capannolo A, Viscido A, Barkad MA, et al. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity among patients perceiving gluten-related symptoms. Digestion. 2015; 92(1):8-13. Doi:10.1159/000430090. 5. Kupper C. Dietary guidelines and implementation for celiac disease. Gastroenterology.2005; 128 (4 Suppl 1):S121-7. Doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2005.02.024. 6. Dunn C, House L, Shelnutt KP. Consumer perceptions of gluten-free products and the healthfulness of gluten-free diets. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. 2014; 46(4) S184-S185. Picture Citation: Dbreen. https://pixabay.com/en/bread-roll-loaf-food-bakery-fresh-1081078/