A gluten free diet is a necessity for people with celiac disease or nonceliac gluten sensitivity. However, the number of people eating a gluten free diet, without diagnosed gluten issues, is increasing.
According to the home doctor experts at House Call Doctor, it is important to understand the benefits and risks of a gluten free diet before making lifestyle changes.
What is a gluten free diet?
A gluten-free diet is a diet that excludes the protein gluten.
Gluten is a composite of two proteins found in wheat, rye, barley, spelt, and related grains.
It is essential for managing signs and symptoms of celiac disease and other medical conditions associated with gluten.
Why are gluten free diets so popular?
The dietary shift of many people can be attributed to studies claiming the elimination of gluten can result in health benefits like weight loss and reduced cardiovascular disease.
The choice to go gluten free may also be driven in part by marketing and misperception that gluten free is healthier.
Are gluten free diets healthier or is it a fad?
Beyond the benefits for people diagnosed with gluten issues, there is little evidence to suggest a gluten free diet offers any particular health benefits.
Although naturally gluten free products such as plant-based foods and dairy are part of a healthy and balanced diet, there does not seem to be a health benefit for the processed and packaged gluten free replacements over wheat-based versions.
Where to from here?
For people without diagnosed gluten issues, there’s no evidence to support claims that a strict gluten free diet is beneficial for health.
Instead, people should aim to include a range of gluten and gluten free foods, with a focus on dietary variety.