Is Gluten-Free a Diet Fad?

Gluten-free has gained popularity recently as not only a diet choice, but a way of life. High-profile celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Victoria Beckham cite gluten-free living as their way of getting healthy and fit. Is going gluten-free the next big diet craze like its predecessors fat-free and low-cal, or is there more to it than that? The answer depends on who you ask.

For many, going gluten-free is less of a life choice than a life sentence. In 2012, the Mayo Clinic released a statement saying that about 1.8 million Americans have celiac disease, a digestive condition triggered by consuming gluten. There are still others who have allergies and other ailments that make consuming foods containing gluten a legitimate health concern. For them, being gluten-free is a way to alleviate the symptoms of an incurable condition.

So why the popularity of gluten-free eating as a health and diet option? Many choose to be on a gluten-free diet without a celiac disease diagnosis. Eating gluten-free often causes people to consume fewer overall calories due to the reduced consumption of carbohydrates. Once carbs have been cut, people tend to turn to vegetables and fruits. This results in weight loss and makes gluten-free eating look like a viable and relatively healthy way for people to do it. The results aren’t necessarily because gluten has been cut from the diet, but rather because healthier food choices are being made, and attention is being paid to what those choices are.

More people are being diagnosed with conditions that are relieved by becoming gluten-free, which is likely the drive behind the lifestyles popularity. Before starting a gluten-free lifestyle, discuss it with your doctor and research the nutrition information. While it is certainly a good thing to want to eat more healthfully, it is important to remember that barring any condition that makes doing so impossible, the best diet is one that includes most kinds of foods.

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60 comments

Carol P.
Carol P.3 years ago

Thanks for the post. Pretty straightforward.

But a lot of the recent shift toward gluten free simply has to do with science catching up and general awareness. Five years ago, the amount of information available online was relatively scarce and only applied to those with the most severe form of allergy, celiac disease.

But lots of studies have been done in the past few years and there is now a lot of information available. That means that people who have been suffering for years with undiagnosed problems are walking into their doctor's offices and demanding to be tested for gluten allergies.

Studies are starting to show that symptoms that aren't related to digestion can be linked to gluten allergies. Other studies have shown that gluten affects people differently, and you don't have to have damage to your vilii to have a gluten allergy.

I personally think that most gluten-free processed foods are great for helping those who have to go gluten free not feel deprived, especially when they realize that most of the guilty pleasures are now out of bounds. No more beer at a baseball game, or nostalgic treats like oreos. So having an alternative is a great psychological crutch, especially for those who are new to gluten free.

For anyone who thinks it is only a fad, I challenge you to go gluten free for six weeks before passing judgement. If you have any European heritage, chances are pretty good that you'll have some sort of positive affects from going gluten free and

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra3 years ago

Thank you Brandi, for Sharing this!

Timothy Spurlin
Timothy Spurlin3 years ago

It's very sad that people who need to eat gluten free have to pay more because of people using it as a diet. Wheat has been gmo'd so much it is bad for your health. Try to find food to eat with out wheat, rye, barley, or gluten(wheat family), wheat and gluten is in a lot of food. You can find non gmo wheat, just do a search for it. I'm planning on buying a hand grinder and non gmo grain to make pasta, bread, and flour.

April W.
April Walters3 years ago

"the best diet is one that includes most kinds of foods." Huh? What a load of CRAP! If you really believe that, maybe you should eat some bugs.... Ya know a good chunk of the rest of the world think bugs are a mighty tasty source of protein. There just aren't enough bugs in the average American's diet. (Me rolling my eyes so hard I can see my brain.) I'm eating unprocessed, meat-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, nightshade light, other grain light, and I have NEVER felt better in my entire life! My stomach aches, head aches, eczema, asthma, lethargy, depression, & general body aches are either completely GONE, or much improved. Not to mention the fact that I've lost 55 pounds without even trying.

Sandy Castro
Sandy Castro3 years ago

It is all so confusing.

Patricia H.
Patricia H.3 years ago

thanks for the share

june t.
june t.3 years ago

for some folks it is for health, for the rest it is a fad. A coworker and I did the gluten free thing a while back and didn't have any changes. On the other hand I do know a couple of people who get symptoms when they eat particular grains such as wheat. I do think some people are avoiding gluten for non-medical reasons. They can do what they want, I personally try to eat as varied a diet as I can.

Aaron Bouchard
Aaron Bouchard3 years ago

Diet? I thought it was due to serious allergy

Aimee Polekoff
Aimee Polekoff3 years ago

Carmen S., what are you talking about? There is no GMO variety of wheat.


Anyway, I think that the current popularity is a bit of a fad. Of course some people who have to will continue to keep the diet, but a lot of people are keeping it because they think gluten makes you fat. Once they realize that this is not true, they will move to a different fad.

Carmen Sant
Carmen Sant3 years ago

Most wheat is GMO and/or riddled with pesticides. So not eating wheat is probably keeping you healthier.