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 lifestyle’s 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.