Is Gluten-free Just a Fad?

For the last couple of weeks we’ve been focusing on inflammation, a chronic condition that is the underlying cause of many of today’s common health conditions and illnesses.  To tackle inflammation we are trying to keep our buckets from over flowing (see Inflammation – An Epidemic posted March 31, 2013 to learn more about your bucket).


The gluten-free section of the food industry is currently one of the fasted growing sectors.  More and more people are eliminating gluten from their diets (wheat, spelt, rye, barley) for various health reasons such as intestinal discomfort, psoriasis, fatigue, migraines and weight loss.  Is gluten-free the right move for everyone? 


Previously the medical community only recommended the removal of gluten if one was diagnosed with celiac disease.  For someone with celiac disease eating gluten causes their immune system to react and damage the lining of the intestine.  But new scientific evidence is showing that gluten sensitivity exists and can be linked to many inflammatory symptoms outside of the intestines.  For many gluten triggers an immune response throughout the body even after testing negative for celiac disease.  And even though the medical community has not yet defined a set of symptoms for gluten sensitivity (over 100 symptoms have been unofficially linked to gluten) it is finally being acknowledged that gluten sensitivity does exist.     


To see if going gluten-free helps you try eliminating it from your diet for at least 2 weeks.  So instead of bread for breakfast have steel cut oats.  Brown rice, quinoa, legumes and yams are nutrient-dense alternatives for lunch and dinner (instead of more bread, crackers or pasta).  Keep in mind that processed gluten-free products like cold cereals, muffins, breads, crackers and even pasta are NOT healthful.  These gluten-free replacement products are too processed often with less fibre and more sugar.  And remember to read labels carefully because gluten is also in soy sauce, malt, hydrolized vegetable protein and vegetable starches.


After the two week trial you may find symptoms that you were experiencing lessen or disappear.  You may find yourself with more energy too!  And you’ll know that gluten-free is the right choice for you, fad or no fad.