Research States Not Everyone Benefits from Going Gluten-Free

The terms “gluten” and “gluten-free” used to be foreign back in the day, but everyone is talking about them now. Celebrities, doctors, dietitians, and all sorts of people between are talking about it. With all the media coverage, more and more people are jumping on the gluten-free diet trend, even if they do not have a medical reason. Shelley Case, the registered dietician that wrote “Gluten Free: The Definitive Resource Guide, argues that not everyone benefits from this change in diet. We will cover who should definitely go gluten-free and why those without a medical diagnosis could suffer from it.

Who Should Go Gluten-Free

To clarify, Case’s argument does not claim that a gluten-free diet is completely bogus. In fact, there are plenty of people who need to exclude gluten from their food to remain healthy. Gluten is a protein that wheat, barley, and rye contain, and some people experience negative symptoms from it. This is especially true for those with celiac disease. When people with celiac disease consume gluten, it causes damage to the lining of the small intestine and pain to themselves. This damage prevents the small intestine from absorbing the nutrients our bodies need to stay healthy. It can even cause anemia, osteoporosis, weight loss, and other health complications.

Other people that benefit from avoiding gluten are ones that have a non-celiac gluten sensitivity. This is less tricky to diagnose because they suffer from the same problems as those with celiac disease, but they do not have a damaged small intestine. Many people go undiagnosed when they should visit with a doctor.

Of course, if you are allergic to gluten or wheat, you should steer clear of it entirely.

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Why It Does Not Work for Everyone

Dr. Abdullah Shatnawee is the medical director at the Center for Gut Rehabilitation and Transplantation in Cleveland, Ohio. She states that she has seen many people now on a gluten-free diet without a clinical diagnosis. If there is not a medical reason to avoid it, there is not any evidence that claims gluten is bad for you. People that self-diagnose could be cutting out the wrong item from their diet. While they may think gluten is the problem, it could be another ingredient, like the fructans in wheat. 

Other people say that they feel bloated or tired after consuming foods containing gluten. This does not mean that gluten is bad, but it could mean that you are consuming too much of it. People who cut out gluten and feel better may actually be experiencing the benefits of cutting out processed carbohydrates. If you start eating more fruits and vegetables, you will definitely feel better, but it does not mean it was the gluten.

Those who decide to go gluten-free without a clinical diagnosis could miss out on vital nutrients if they are not careful. Some nutrients they may lack include fiber, B vitamins, and iron. If you need to cut out gluten, make sure you balance the rest of your foods so you consume all the nutrients you need.

Do Not Go Gluten-Free Without Medical Testing

If you think that you may have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, it is crucial that you see a doctor. Do not quit eating foods with gluten until then because you need it in your system to receive accurate test results. After the results, your doctor will then have you go on a gluten-free diet to see if it helps. Some people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome also claim to find relief by ditching gluten, but be sure to talk to a doctor first. Your nutrition is of the utmost importance, so do not follow the latest trend without medical counsel first.

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Lacey Jolley
 

I love exploring, experiencing new places, and eating good food! I'm amazed every day at how well the Earth provides for us, and I want to return the favor. I hope to help others learn how we can make our world a better, cleaner place.

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