Ever thought about going Gluten-Free? As the trend grows rapidly in the United States, (with the market size increasing from $2.3 billion in 2009 to over $3.16 billion in 2013), it’s important to stop and look at the facts before making the huge decision to give up gluten entirely from your diet. With media portraying a gluten-free trend as a positive and healthy choice, one would think that giving it up would be a wise and health conscious decision, but the truth lies farther than what is shown in today’s popular media. Here is some evidence of why going gluten-free may not be as healthy as it seems.1. Your Body Might Not Be Taking In Certain Important Nutrients: According to HealthLink BC, going Gluten free prevents your body from taking in the necessary amount of folate. Folate is crucial for your health, it’s needed for the body to make red and white blood cells, a deficiency in folate can lead to anemia.
2. It’s Extremely Expensive: According to realfoodforlife.com, gluten-free products are around 242% more expensive than products containing gluten; examples including cookie mix, pasta, pizza dough, and the majority of items located in the bakery area of the grocery store. In America, an estimated $7 billion will be spent this year alone on gluten-free foods.
3. Extra Preparation Is Required: Extra preparation is also required to ensure gluten isn’t injected into other foods. Gluten cross-contamination can easily happen, and according to abouthealth.com, using the same toaster or sifter as with regular bread and flour is an easy way to contaminate your other foods. So unless you live alone or with other gluten-free eaters, the diet requires extra preparation and extra hassle.
4. Can Lead To A Higher Increase Of Deficiencies: Eliminating gluten from your diet also eliminates iron and fiber alike. A lack of these essentials in your body will cause a decrease in healthy digestion and can introduce serious deficiencies.
5. Decreases The Amount Of Beneficial Stomach Bacteria: Gluten contains important and crucial stomach bacteria that help keep your immune system in check. In a recent study by the Spanish National Research Council, analysis showed that healthy adults who switched to a gluten-free diet had an increase of unhealthy stomach bacteria and a decrease in healthy “gut bacteria”.
6. Doctor’s Don’t Recommend Going Gluten-Free Unless You Have Celiac Disease: Even doctors, including some at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, don’t recommend going gluten-free unless you absolutely have to, as there are too many negative effects that don’t outweigh the positives of being apart of the new and popular gluten-free trend. The negative health risks aren’t worth the trouble.
Before following the gluten-free trend, make sure to do your research and talk to your Doctor to see if this is a good option for you. The gluten-free diet can have more negative than positive effects. Sticking to carbs has never been better or healthier. Enjoy!
This article was created as part of the Food Media class, offered through the Media Studies Department and taught by Beth Hoffman