January 12, 2012

Gluten Free Diet for a Non-Celiac

Recently, I did a project on whether or not someone should follow a gluten free diet if they do not have celiac disease or gluten intolerenace and here is what I found.

 More and more gluten free products are becoming available and the public is wondering if this is a good option for them. Gluten is a protein found in barley, wheat, and rye and on a gluten-free diet, are avoided. Many people are starting to think that gluten is bad for you and that it should be avoided. According to WebMD, only people with celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity actually require a gluten-free diet. They say that people think that a gluten free diet is more healthy but that is not the case. It is difficult to follow and actually may pose nutritional risks when a person has no medical reason to be on it.

    Now more than ever, doctors are recognizing gluten sensitivities which is different than celiac disease. The person is sensitive to it and often has GI symptoms but they do not have damage to their small intestine which they do with celiac disease. Also, many people believe that they are going to lose weight on a gluten free diet but that is not necessarily true unless you are eating less calories than you are burning.

I also found a great section of articles pieced together on the Eat Right website.  It states that people are going gluten free as a fat diet health craze but not necessary. Due to this craze, more and more companies are coming out with gluten free products and even labeling their already gluten free products as gluten free. For example, I have seen many types of fresh produce labeled as gluten free. This is not necessary because produce has always already been gluten free. Luckily for those who actually need to go gluten-free, it is easier than ever before to do this due to the craze.

    The taste of gluten free products are getting better and better and are not as commonly considered to taste like cardboard as before. People on a gluten free diet put themselves at risk for different deficiencies such as B vitamin deficiencies, calcium, fiber, vitamin D, and iron. A possible reason for this is that gluten free flours are not enriched with vitamins and minerals like wheat flour is. A way to avoid this is to add flax and chia seeds to foods.

    Ashley Koff RD makes a great point that just because an item is gluten free, does not mean that it is healthy. Many times, gluten free flours are made with refined carbohydrates and are not any better for you than white bread. If you are on a gluten free diet, it is important to still have whole gluten free grains such as brown rice, quinoa, or amaranth. Portion control and paying attention to proper nutrients is very important for someone following this diet.

    To conclude, according to research, doctors, and dietitians, it is not necessary to go on a gluten free diet unless you have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance. A gluten free diet can actually harm you more than help if it is unneeded. Finally, it is very important to talk to your doctor and/or a registered dietitian about going on a gluten free diet to see if that is the right choice for you.


Media Planet. Celiac Disease. 3rd Edition. 2010. http://www.eatright.org/search.aspx?search=glutenfree
diet for non celiac.

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  1. great post, thanks.

    informative. It seems that diets and health are full of myths, and you did a good just breaking some.

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