From liquid cleanses to calorie-counting, celebrities are known to advocate for a variety of diets. Recently, it seems as though the most popular trend is going gluten-free. Gluten is a protein composed of gliadin (a protein that helps bread dough rise while maintaining its shape) and glutenin (a protein present in all types of wheat flour). Both of these substances contribute to the overall function of gluten, which is to give dough its flexible consistency and ability to rise when cooked.
Before gluten-free became a popular trend, the diet was typically followed by individuals suffering from gluten-intolerance or Celiac disease. For the approximately 18 million people in the US with gluten-intolerance, their bodies are simply unable to process gluten, which results in symptoms such as diarrhea, bloating, fatigue, headaches, and rashes. Individuals with Celiac disease are not only gluten-intolerant, but they also have an immune response to the consumption of gluten. The immune response can attack the lining of the small intestine, causing an improper absorption of nutrients that the body needs. Individuals with Celiac disease share common symptoms with gluten-intolerant folks; however, many may not exhibit any obvious symptoms.
Advocates of the diet claim that going gluten-free is an effective way to lose weight and can boost one’s mood and energy. However, medical experts argue that avoiding grain products can have a negative impact on those who are not gluten-intolerant. Many of the nutrients we need can be easily obtained through the consumption of wheat. Gluten-free specialty foods are also often more expensive than standard options, which should be taken into consideration when planning a diet.
Some of the celebrities suffer from gluten-intolerance or other medical conditions that a gluten-free diet can alleviate. However, that does not mean that gluten is the enemy in weight loss. According to a practicing dietician, the three most common reasons why individuals lose weight after going gluten-free are:
- The food list is extremely restrictive.
- Many junk foods contain gluten.
- Carb heavy foods like bread and pasta are often excluded.
Instead of testing out the fully gluten-free trend, a more cost-effective option for folks who can comfortably consume gluten would be to simply cut out the junk food in their diet, limit carbohydrates, and spend that saved money on healthier options like fresh fruits and vegetables.
Feature Image Source: Andrea Nguyen