Should You Go Gluten Free?

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Lyla Boretz, Reporter

People that go on gluten-free diets, even though they have no need to, might actually reap more harm than benefits. According to a 2013 report by the NPD group, as many as 1 in 3 Americans are trying to avoid gluten, but some experts advise that people without Celiac Disease or problems digesting gluten should stick to incorporating gluten into their diet.  

One of the problems with going gluten-free is that the intake of fiber goes down greatly. Fiber plays a big part in digesting food, and low fiber intake can cause, ahem, bowel problems. Even without gluten-free diets, many Americans fail to reach the daily amount of fiber. This is about 20-40 grams of fiber a day.

Going gluten-free can also cause weight gain. People won’t feel as full and because of this, they’ll eat more. The result is a higher calorie intake, which over time causes people to pack on the pounds. On top of that, gluten-free substitutes are usually less healthy than their counterparts due to the tendency of having more sugar and fat.

Gluten-free diets also eliminate whole grains, and studies have shown that whole grains have many health benefits. For example, consuming a healthy amount of whole grains can reduce the risk of heart disease, some types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. It can even prevent death from certain causes like infections. While gluten-free diets claim to promote weight loss and wellness in general, there is no evidence to back them up, so these claims should be taken with a grain of salt.

 People are mainly avoiding gluten because they’ve heard it’s bad, but in reality, it is as harmful to someone that can tolerate it as to how harmful a peanut is to someone without a peanut allergy. After all, this diet was mainly invented for people that actually can’t eat gluten.