Many celebrities have taken to have a gluten free diet. Ryan Gosling, Jenny McCarthy, and Gwyneth Paltrow have been in the news recently discussing why they’ve switched to a gluten free diet. It’s not because they have a gluten allergy, but they believe a gluten free diet is more healthy. The gluten free diet is the newest “trend” diet. It is believed that over 1.5 million people follow this diet without having been diagnosed with having celiac disease – a severe gluten allergy. The question though still remains – Does this diet help our health?
The protein gluten can be found in wheat, rye, barley and in several other types of grains. Gluten serves as a glue in foods like pasta, cereal, breads, in which it helps these foods hold their shape. Gluten can even be found in non-food products such as lip balm or in the glue on the back of stamps and envelopes.
Gluten can cause severe problem for a select few. It is believed that 17 million US citizens have some sort of gluten allergy. This is called NCGS (non-celiac gluten sensitivity),which can cause symptoms like diarrhea, bloating, gas, headaches, fatigue, and itchy skin.
The more serious disease, celiac disease, affects 1 on 132 people, or a little more than 1% of the population. Celiac disease affects an immune response that attacks the small intestine lining. This keeps the body from absorbing nutrients to the bloodstream, which then further leads to weight loss, stunted growth, and anemia.
Celiac disease can also lead to more severe conditions such as MS (multiple sclerosis), infertility, and osteoporosis. The only working treatment for celiac is a life long gluten free diet.
Only if you have Celiac Disease Should you Adopt a Gluten-free Diet
A recent survey found that over 30% of adults in the United States have adopted a gluten-free diet, or drastically reduced their gluten intake. This percentage is much higher than those that have celiac disease.
There is no evidence that gluten is bad for our health (outside of having celiac disease).
A 2013 study done at the Australian Monash University found zero evidence of specific effects of gluten in patients with non-celiac gluten sensitivity. In truth, the study found that the symptom of bloating to be attributed to carbohydrate consumption.
A clinical dietician at the University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, OH said, “Gluten is not essential and not detrimental to one’s quality of diet or health.”