A gluten-free diet, what does it even mean? For some it’s a health choice, for others it’s part of a medical diagnosis that restricts you from eating certain foods. But is it really an effective way to lose weight?
For many years the gluten-free diet has become somewhat “fashionable” and celebrities are to blame. Miley Cyrus, Victoria Beckham and Russell Crowe have all allegedly turned to a gluten-free diet in an attempt to be healthier and lose weight.
With the gluten free market now being worth over £200million, its no wonder that restaurants such as Prezzo, Pizza Express and Jamie Oliver are jumping on-board. Leading a gluten-free lifestyle has never been easier! It has been estimated that 1.6 million people in the US now follow a gluten free diet without having been diagnosed. But is this trend taking away light from the real reason people are forced to go gluten-free?
I have been a celiac for over 16 years, and still people are asking me “what actually is gluten free?” and “why can’t you eat it?” So what does being ‘celiac’ mean? And what does it do to our bodies?
Well, Gluten-free food was originally created after doctors found the gluten protein was causing significant damage to certain individuals’ stomach linings and causing them a huge amount of pain. This is now known as ‘Celiac Disease’, an autoimmune disease caused by the body reacting to gluten. CBS news reported that 1 in 133 Americans now suffer from Celiac Disease and yet I still feel that not enough people are aware of this condition. When I ask for a gluten-free menu at a restaurant, people look at me like I’m being difficult and that it is just a picky diet choice, and this is all because of this new fashionable diet.
So is gluten free truly a healthy diet to lead?
In fact, doctors everywhere say there is little evidence to support the hypothesis that a gluten-free diet is a healthier choice (unless you have been diagnosed!) Gluten free cakes and biscuits contain no less sugars and fats than their alternative; they simply lack gluten. And often, producers compensate the lack of wheat by adding even more sugars, salts and fats in order to improve the taste. This means that even if you think you’re being healthier, you should still limit the amount of junk food you’re consuming and eat a balanced diet.