Why Going Gluten-Free May Not Be a Good Idea

Contributed by: Sonal Hill, RD, LD

With all of the emerging health trends, how do you know what is really nutritionally beneficial? The gluten-free (GF) diet was originally developed as an alternative for people diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities but going gluten-free may not be such a good idea for everyone.

The growing perception that GF foods are healthier has caused a dramatic increase in demand and consumption of these foods. However, with the increasing interest in the GF diet, this trend spiked an interest with researchers as well. A new study published in the British Journal of Nutrition compared the nutritional value of regular foods versus their GF alternatives. Of the 3,200 foods they compared, researchers found no nutritional difference in GF food versus regular food.

What is the difference between regular foods and their gluten-free alternatives?
Gluten is the spongy complex of proteins found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye, and a cross between wheat and rye called triticale. The GF diet focuses on naturally GF foods including meat, fish, nuts, fruit, vegetables, potatoes, some cereals, some plant products, and foods that have the gluten extracted in processing. Some foods may be naturally gluten-free, but may contain gluten through cross-contamination during processing or transport. Gluten has received a negative perception because it is mostly found in grains such as pastas and bread, in which people automatically think high carbs and that’s not always the case. Many naturally GF foods such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits and lean proteins provide essential minerals and vitamins.

The Gluten-Free Diet for People Who Aren’t Gluten Sensitive
GF alternatives provide no additional nutritional value compared to food with gluten. This doesn’t mean they are unhealthy. If you have found that you feel better on a GF diet, then there is no reason to stop eating GF food. However, in order to receive all of your essential vitamins and minerals make sure to eat a well-balanced diet. Everyone’s body is different and responds to food differently. I recommend finding a healthy eating plan which provides all essential nutrients and benefits your health the most.

If you’re looking for help determining a healthy eating plan tailored to your nutritional needs, give us a call. We will develop a healthy eating plan that works best for you and your body’s specific needs. If you would like to make an appointment, please call (513) 475-UC4U.

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