It has become fashionable to adopt gluten-free diets as a lifestyle choice. Food Business News, citing a study in the January issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, reports that more than 3 million Americans who do not have celiac disease avoid gluten in their diets.
What is celiac disease? It is a response in the small intestine to eating wheat, barley, and rye, which contain gluten. The reaction can damage the small intestine’s lining and prevent absorption of some nutrients (malabsorption). This can cause diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, bloating, and anemia. Although there is no cure for celiac disease, avoiding gluten can help alleviate the problems and promote healing.
Medical News Today reports that some studies, such as one published in the journal Gastroenterology in 2013 by Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark, claim that a gluten-free diet has no health benefits for people without celiac disease. According to the study, an increasing number of people diagnose themselves with celiac. Although they do not actually have the disease, avoiding gluten improved their perceived gastronomical health.
Referring to the Rutgers study, Dr. Daphne Miller, of the University of California-San Francisco, said that a combination of marketing campaigns and the mistaken impression that removing gluten form a diet is healthier are driving people to become gluten-free. She said that this might not be a negative thing because it provides the opportunity to study how a gluten-free diet affects other conditions, such as mental awareness and overall health.
it’s been reported that a Journal of the American Medical Association study shows that up to twenty percent of Americans have reduced their gluten intake. According to the study, even though less than one percent of the Americans surveyed actually had celiac and that occurrence of the disease shows no signs of increasing, the number of people who have eliminated gluten from their diets has increased trifold over a five-year period.
it has been concluded that the top five reasons more people are adopting gluten-free diets include:
1. To treat non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS)
2. To lose weight
3. To improve mental health
4. Because it’s popular
5. More demand has created more products, which creates more diet options
Consumer Reports says that people they surveyed cited improved digestion, weight loss, higher energy levels, cholesterol reduction, and a stronger immune system as benefits of a gluten-free diet. However, according to medical experts, there is no compelling research to suggest that any of this is true. In fact, eliminating gluten may eliminate foods that are beneficial to nutrition.
For people who believe they’re sensitive to gluten, understanding why they have symptoms related to celiac and whether gluten is really to blame, is essential. Before deciding to follow a gluten-free diet, a person should always talk to a doctor. If celiac-type symptoms appear, cutting out gluten might delay needed treatment or it might even cover up some other underlying condition.