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To Be or Not To Be Gluten-Free?

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Gluten is often blamed for weight gain, bloating and stomach struggles, but is it really all that bad? Read on to see if you need to eliminate it from your diet before hopping on the bread-banning bandwagon.

Should You Be G-Free?

What do celebs like Zooey Deschanel, Emmy Rossum, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Chelsea Clinton have in common? They all follow gluten-free diets, thanks to severe wheat allergies that, if left untreated, can result in bloating, diarrhea, fatigue, malnourishment and even infertility and osteoporosis.

"Going g-free" has been trendy for a few years now, with proponents claiming that ditching wheat can melt away pounds, elevate sports performance and evaporate mental fogginess. The industry has exploded, mushrooming 27 percent since 2009 and surpassing $6 billion in sales in 2011, according to Mintel research. "Gluten-free is the new low-carb," says Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, RD, author of The SuperFoodsRx Diet (Rodale) ?and a nutrition advisor at Golden Door Fitness Resort and Spa in San Marcos, Calif. But unless you are one of the 1 percent of Americans who truly suffer from actual Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder where the body attacks itself in the presence of gluten - a protein component found in wheat, rye and barley - or the 5 to 8 percent who are gluten-intolerant, eradicating gluten from your diet will not help you lose weight or boost energy. In fact, "many gluten-free products are packed with sugar and fat," Bazilian warns.

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jeanplrn wrote:

I am an RN and have been diagnosed with gluten sensitivity rather than full-blown celiac disease. Since I have been off gluten, I have my life back. I was ready for a wheelchair when I was eating gluten and eggs. People need to understand that the wheat of today is genetically engineered altering the protein and making it stronger, this is why so many people are becoming sensitive to products with wheat and gluten.

10/17/2013 04:14:44 PM Report Abuse
mok_alk wrote:

Just remember that celiac is an autoimmune disease that is being diagnosed more frequently than ever before thanks to blood tests and other immune marker tests. Celiac does not always impact your GI tract and eating gluten if you have celiac is serious stuff! If you eat GF and you feel better (fewer migraines, fewer skin woes, more energy, etc.), you make have celiac and not know it. Check with your doc before hopping back on the wheat wagon. (Oh and I have celiac and do miss wheat.)

10/17/2013 02:22:37 PM Report Abuse
anonymous wrote:

One more comment - as a RN for 22 years, I have worked with many people who medically required a gluten-free diet.

10/17/2013 12:09:14 PM Report Abuse
anonymous wrote:

Unless a person has been diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, a gluten-free diet is not the answer. It is not a weight loss diet, it is strict and lifelong. Approximately 1 in 100 people have it in the US but have no symptoms. I had none when diagnosed 22 years ago. Try no new diet without consulting your physician.

10/17/2013 12:07:40 PM Report Abuse
katzwack1 wrote:

Yes -- Gluten-free is the way to go and WILL help you lose weight. Just don't buy the gluten-free products. Rice flour is no better. Just eat protein, fruits and veggies and your bloat and "pooch" will disappear in weeks

10/17/2013 11:00:04 AM Report Abuse

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