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Gluten-Free Diet May Do More Harm than Good

Update Date: Mar 13, 2013 03:13 PM EDT
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In recent years, gluten-free foods have proliferated shelves. At the same time, many people are eliminating gluten from their diet. However, experts say that, if you do not have celiac disease, a gluten-free diet can backfire. For many people, a gluten-free diet results in an unhealthy lifestyle.

According to MyHealthNewsDaily, gluten is a protein that can be found in a wide variety of grains, including wheat, rye and barley. In recent years, gluten has entered widespread attention as the culprit for celiac disease. People with celiac disease are allergic to the protein, and that allergy can damage their intestines. As a result, they need to avoid gluten and pursue gluten-free options.

However, in recent years, eating gluten-free has been seized by the rest of the population as well. While only 1 percent of people in the United States has celiac disease, 30 percent of people who responded to pollsters said that they wanted to cut down or eliminate gluten from their diets. The NDP Group, which administers the poll, says that was the highest number of people who gave that answer since they started asking the question in 2009.

While many people believe that eating gluten-free foods will help them be healthy and lose weight, experts say that such a diet can often be damaging. It is possible to eat healthily with a gluten-free diet; unfortunately, many people are not educated enough on the subject to do so.

What's wrong with eating gluten free? Whole grains, which contain gluten, are plentiful in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Gluten-free foods, on the other hand, are generally created with refined grains, which means that they are consequently often lacking in nutrients. Gluten-free diets also lack a wide variety of vitamins and minerals as well: calcium, folate, iron, niacin, phosphorus, thiamine and zinc, as well as fiber.

If you are determined to eat gluten free, even if you do not have celiac disease, experts say to embrace naturally gluten-free grains, like buckwheat or quinoa. Yogurt and other low-fat dairy products, as well as lean meat, are handy for gluten-free diets. Experts also say not to forget eating loads of fruits and vegetables, since swapping candy for fruit will make anyone feel good.

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