Gluten or No Gluten?

Gluten-free or not gluten-free, is the question?  I get asked this more & more these days. Thanks to the media & food corporations driving this “fad,” people don’t know how to eat anymore. I talk with clients that have adopted this style of eating and are not really sure why? Other than, they have jumped on the latest “fad-wagon.”  Scarsdale, Atkins, Caveman.. all are just another name for the same diet. Higher protein, low or no carbs. And now, it’s the Gluten.

I recently got an email from a former client that had moved away wanting help with her diet because her cholesterol had gone up so much that her MD wanted to put her on meds. She is trying to avoid meds and wanted me to take a look at her eating plan. The first thing she told me was that she went Gluten free 2 years ago and now her cholesterol is sky high and has become pre-diabetic. She is fearful because her family has a high rate of heart disease related deaths. (By the way, this woman is lean and strong and works out regularly)
I asked her “why did you go Gluten Free?” She said…”I’m not sure, my chiropractor told me I should” AArgh….enough said!

My reason for sharing this client story is to remind you that Gluten-Free has become another fad diet. Unless you are one of the very few that have had an intestinal biopsy to show you truly have Celiac Disease, a gluten free diet is not a magic pill. Just as we have had no sugar, no fat, high protein, no carbs in the past…now we have no gluten. ( maybe next will be high gluten 🙂

A few points:

* Gluten comes from wheat and at some level, just about any commercially available food either contains wheat or has trace contamination from wheat, so a gluten free diet is much easier said than done.

* The history of human culture is closely tied to the history of bread. Bread was one of our earliest portable foods, which made it possible to take long journeys. Its carbohydrate content made it a high energy food, and combined with its light weight, bread was about the best food you could have with you. Bread made it possible for humans to migrate. Gluten built the bread that built the world.

* And since then, gluten has been used in many other foods as well. It’s handy as a protein supplement, and as an all-natural way to add elasticity to foods. People usually lose weight when first adopting a gluten free diet because it immediately takes away all of the favorite foods we like to eat i.e. bread, crackers, chips, etc. The gluten free foods are often high in fat and calories. It is not considered a “healthy diet” because it is high in overall fat and cuts out one very important food group. In a recent study of the healthiest diets, it ranked 25th out of 25. Need I say more?

Please be sure to educate yourself before starting any new extreme diet. Moderation is key to longevity.

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