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Contrary to what people think going Gluten-free isn’t always healthy.

 A Gluten-free diet, is it good for you?

With all the hype about gluten, consumers have come to believe that going gluten-free will give them more energy, help them lose weight, lose their belly bloat, improve digestive health, and make them better athletic performers.

A Gluten-free diet is beneficial if you have celiac disease (an autoimmune disease in which immune cells attack the small intestine when you eat gluten) or a sensitivity to gluten (inflammation). However, omitting gluten products from your diet can actually carry health risks.

Health risks, what can they possibly be?

  • Nutritional deficiencies – gluten-free products typically are not fortified like whole grain or vitamin-enriched foods. On exclusively gluten-free diets there may be less intake of key nutrients like iron, B vitamins like folic acid, or fiber essential to health. Taking supplements can help remedy this
  • Higher caloric intake – to make gluten-free products palatable, they are often loaded with lots of carbohydrates and fat. So these products often contain more calories than ordinary gluten-containing products.
  • They are highly processed foods so if the goal is to eat more naturally, going gluten-free is only ESSENTIAL if you have bonafide immune reactions or sensitivity to gluten.
  • May make you more at risk for heart disease since research is showing that carbohydrates are a big factor in triggering inflammation underpinning heart disease.

If you have no lab-proven gluten sensitivities, don’t switch over to a TOTAL gluten-free diet.  Eating some gluten-free products certainly can’t hurt, but 100% totally gluten-free may not be necessary.  Check with your health care provider.

Scientist-photographer author and teacher bringing together science, art and sometimes the sacred. PhD biochemist, post-doc in immunology and years of teaching mindbody health and sensory awareness. Looking within with a microscope my vision of the world has changed, yours might, too.