Gluten avoidance: hype or for health?

By Deborah Gerszberg, RD, CNSC, CDN
Clinical Nutritionist, The Pancreas Center

Increasing numbers of Americans are avoiding gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and many processed foods), a trend that is fueling a great rise in the sale of gluten free products in grocery stores. This is great for those with celiac disease or a diagnosed wheat allergy. But is a gluten free (GF) diet healthier for everyone?

If you think eliminating gluten containing breads, cereals, pizza, cookies, and snack foods and replacing them with GF alternatives will improve your health and/or weight, you may be sadly disappointed.

However, if you replace these gluten containing processed foods with whole plant based foods (whether they contain gluten or not!) it would be hard to not notice your shrinking waist line. This isn’t necessarily from avoiding gluten, but from avoiding processed foods, which are higher in calories and lower in nutrients.

That said, some people may benefit from going GF, even if they don’t have celiac disease or a wheat allergy.

See next week’s post about who that may be!