Want some arsenic with that? This poison and more is why a gluten-free diet can make your health worse.
The Unstoppable Gluten-Free
Remember when Jimmy Kimmel made fun of gluten-free back in May?
Not that it made any difference at all about how converts perceive this form of diet.
I don't think they'll fare better, but an article on the whole craze that Consumer Reports put together for the January issue of their magazine makes for some very interesting reading.
Lack Of Nutrients, But Lots Of Arsenic
The organization readily acknowledges that people who suffer from autoimmune disorder celiac disease can run into trouble when eating products containing gluten.
But also that for people without this defect going gluten-free can make their health worse. CR's key points:
- It can cause deficiencies, because many gluten-free products lack iron and folic acid
- Some have more calories, as added sugar and fat replace flour for texture and taste
- Which is why in the long run many people gain weight going gluten-free
- You'll eat a lot of arsenic, because one of the diet's staples, rice, is often tainted with it
- It costs you more and sometimes isn't even gluten-free
- Self-diagnosing gluten intolerance can lead to missing a real health condition
On the other hand, CR writes, gluten can actually be good for you. That there’s evidence that it's beneficial for your triglycerides and blood pressure. That the starches in wheat support the "good" bacteria in your digestive system, which lowers the risk of inflammations.
Burn 'Em All!
When I write about them, I sometimes ponder what the next elimination craze might be. Fat, carbs, lactose, gluten and others have been demonized already. With the accelerating rate these fads come and go, we soon run out of nutrients to burn at the stake.
A style of nutrition I'd very much look forward is "stupid-free." As in "don't follow a fad and try to embrace rational thinking for a change."
Picture courtesy of Melissa Wiese.