My son eats gluten-free because he has an intolerance that makes life pretty miserable when he does eat it. However, when we began our quest to find out what was going on with his digestion, all of the experts we consulted strongly cautioned against going gluten free unless there was a medical reason to do so. For some reason, eating gluten free has gained in popularity among the Hollywood crowd. You should never start eating gluten free without advice from a doctor because it does pose the risk of health issues if you don’t do it properly. Here are several compelling reasons to skip the gluten free trend unless you have to eat that way.
1. You Need Carbs
Yes, you can get them from other sources, but many people make the mistake of thinking that no carbs is a good idea. The truth is that your body needs carbs because they are your main source of energy. The trick is to get them from the right sources. Whole wheat is one prime carb and eating gluten free means you can’t eat it. Other whole grains are helpful too.
2. Nutritional Deficiencies
Foods that contain gluten – mainly the grain foods - are a great source of a bunch of vitamins and minerals you need for good health. Skipping them sets you up for the risk of deficiencies. That includes iron and B vitamins. Be cautious because this can lead to anemia, lowered energy levels and other scary health issues.
3. Fiber Intake
One of the most challenging things I face when shopping for my son is the fiber content in gluten free products. Much of them are made with white rice flour or potato flour, which puts him at risk of not getting enough fiber. Skipping grain foods poses this risk to anyone on a gluten free diet. You’ll have to shop very carefully to find foods rich in fiber as replacements. Unless you have to be gluten free, it’s easier to just eat the normal stuff.
4. It’s Hard
Once you go gluten free, eating becomes something you’ll have to be much more conscious of. Going out to dinner will require careful scrutiny of the menu and shopping for groceries takes longer as you’ll be reading all the labels to be sure you can eat a given item. Trust me – if you don’t have to, don’t do it!
5. Not a Weight Loss Cure
The likely reason you lose weight when going gluten free is because you aren’t eating as many carbs. Regardless of how much gluten you’re eating, that can lead to pounds lost. However, as I said above, you need some carbs for energy. If you want to lose weight, it’s better to just make sure you’re burning more calories than you consumer rather than trying to eliminate gluten for no reason.
6. It’s Not Always Healthier
Many people make the mistake of thinking that gluten free is healthier. That’s simply not true. A jumbo marshmallow is gluten free, but that doesn’t make it a good food choice, right? Just because something is gluten free doesn’t make it an automatic healthy thing to eat.
7. It’s Pricey
Let me tell you that you don’t want to shell out for gluten free food unless you have to. How about this for a reality check - $7 for a loaf of bread, $4 for one muffin and $2 for a single cereal bar. If I didn’t have to buy those things, I wouldn’t. I would never compromise my son’s health for a few bucks, but those gluten free items can really jack up your grocery bill.
Do you eat gluten free? What are your reasons?