A lot of people are trying to eat gluten free, but if you are not suffering with Celiac Disease or are living with an intolerance to gluten, is it a good idea to cut it out of your diet all together?
Celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Kim Kardashian, and Victoria Beckham have all gone gluten free to loose weight and they're not the only ones to do so. A recent poll shows 30 percent of Americans want to cut down on gluten or eliminate gluten from their diets.
Gluten is a protein in wheat, barley, and rye. Gluten intolerance is associated with Celiac Disease.
"Celiac Disease is a very serious problem, usually causing abdominal symptoms such as bloating and discomfort. Because it can also affect the immune system, you can get joint pain, fatigue, and other vague problems to the body," said Local 4's medical expert Doctor Frank McGeorge.
People who have celiac disease can go undiagnosed for years because most people with the disease have very mild or no symptoms. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, common symptoms include frequent diarrhea, weight loss, itchy skin rash, anemia, reduced spleen function and fatigue.
Katie Kolbus owns Motown Freedom Bakery in Detroit. Kolbus baked goods are free of the eight most common food allergen ingredients. Kolbus cut gluten out of her diet along with dairy and soy because she found those ingredients were the source of her digestive problems.
"For a lot of people its really serious," said Kolbus. "It can do a lot of damage to your body, and you don't necessarily have to be diagnosed with something like Celiac Disease. You could be intolerant and it will never show up in your blood results, you only know by how your body reacts."
But if you do not suffer from Celiac's Disease, should you cut out the gluten?
Stacey Kendrick, a health educator at Vanderbilt University, said whole grains are a good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals and said that stripping away gluten could cause a deficiency in your body.
"Anytime you eliminate something from your diet, it can cause health problems," said Kendrick.
Despite the weight loss claims of going gluten free, people need to know what is in the products they are eating. Registered dietitian Amanda Holliday said products labeled gluten free can be highly processed and loaded with sugar and fat.
"I think the real trick is what you replace those calories with," said registered dietitian Amanda Holliday. "There are so many grains that are gluten free. There are more grains that are gluten-free than have gluten. It's just the typical American diet doesn't know about them."
If you are unsure about whether the gluten in your diet could be affecting you, Kolbus recommends taking it out of your diet for a while and see if you feel better.
"Listen to what your body is telling you. You don't feel good when you eat it take it out, try for you know, two weeks to a month, without it, and if you feel better I think its your answer," said Kolbus.
But if you think going gluten free is your easy weight loss answer, experts caution people the real reason so many people probably lose weight on a gluten free diet isn't because they are eliminating gluten. It is because they end up cutting out processed foods and stop eating desserts, junk food, and wheat heavy beer, which can all lead to losing weight.
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