Ten years ago, barely anyone was concerned with gluten. Today, tens of millions of people around the world are on a gluten-free diet;most of them for no other reason except that everyone else is on it. Some of them still don’t know what gluten is. They just know it’s “bad for you.” Lots of celebrities are promoting gluten-free diets as well, which only adds to the hype. Companies that produce gluten-free products are making millions of dollars because of it. So let’s see what is a gluten-free diet and should you follow it.
Gluten is a protein found naturally in wheat, barley, and rye. Unfortunately, it is added to thousands of other products as well, which makes gluten really hard to avoid, especially if your diet includes lots of bread, pasta, and processed food. The list of food you should avoid to be gluten-free is so long, I get depressed just reading it. I don’t know what I would do if I had to exclude all of them from my diet. Luckily for me, I don’t have celiac disease and I’m not gluten-intolerant. If you are not either, think twice before you start a gluten-free diet.
The only one who can confirm if gluten is bad for you is your doctor. So if you really think gluten is bothering you, run a couple of blood tests to know for sure. Otherwise, you could be doing yourself a disservice. Here is why:
The only good thing that came out of this gluten hype is raised awareness of people who actually have to go gluten-free:people with celiac disease. For example, ten or fifteen years ago, staying gluten-free was utterly complicated. There were barely any products designed for people with celiac disease, and there were any, they were absurdly overpriced. People had to make their own bread or pasta from special flour that was quite expensive. Today, the situation is much better. More and more companies started producing gluten-free food which lowered the price significantly (but it’s still much more expensive than regular food). In Croatia, for example, people with diagnosed celiac disease can now get a prescription for 10 kilos (22 pounds) of gluten-free flour per month, which is really helpful, financially speaking.
Bottom line: don’t start a gluten-free diet just because your favorite celebrity is on it, or because you read somewhere that everyone should go gluten-free. If you have problems that you suspect might be caused by gluten, talk to your doctor first. There are numerous ingredients that could cause you various health problems. It’s not always gluten. If you don’t have any problems, there is absolutely no reason to go gluten-free. If you need to lose a few pounds, there are far better and healthier diets out there.