Is Going Gluten Free Necessary?
Over the past ten years or so, more and more people are adopting a gluten-free diet. But why? Is it actually necessary? For people with celiac disease, yes definitely. For people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, wheat allergy, gluten sensitivity, or gluten intolerance, possibly, it depends on the extent of their symptoms. For anyone else, no, gluten-free is not necessary! Gluten is just a protein in wheat that helps with elasticity and structure.
Some believe adopting a gluten-free diet is “healthier” or a quick way to lose weight. Gluten itself does not cause weight gain, overconsumption of food (all food) contributes to weight gain. If people cut out gluten-containing products and do not replace those calories with a gluten-free product or anything else, then yes, they will lose weight, but it is not healthy. All foods fit into a healthy diet and serve a purpose, as each food offers different nutrients.
Following a gluten-free diet may result in several nutrient deficiencies- folate, B vitamins, fiber, and iron. It is important to make sure gluten-free foods are enriched with those nutrients, increase the intake of other foods with those nutrients, or find a supplemental source. Good gluten-free fiber sources are:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Flaxseed meal
- Millet seeds
- Bean flours
- Brown rice
Bottom line: unless a gluten-free diet is medically necessary, there is no need to go gluten-free! It is okay to enjoy pizza, pastas, baked goods, and cereals!