We all know the vegetarian who lives on mac and cheese with a side of French fries and Oreo cookies for dessert. While shunning meat, they often think they're improving their health. However, because they're skimping on the greens, beans, and fruits, they're totally missing the VEG in VEGetarian.
The same may hold true for the gluten-free community. While shunning gluten, you may fall short on valuable nutrients, such as fiber, folic acid, and iron, found in the grain family. In addition, the brain’s sole source of energy are carbohydrates, so depriving your body of this macronutrient can be extremely destructive. Although carbs can also be found in fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and other plant-based foods, grains are the main source in our standard American diet.
Eating gluten-free has also been shown to be more demanding on our pocketbooks. In fact, about 242% more expensive, according to researchers at the Dalhousie Medical School in Canada. If you must go sans gluten, stick to the whole food sources and shun the fancy gluten-free packaged crackers, cereals, cookies, and pastries. Your waistline will thank you, as these are often loaded with added fats, sugars and additives to make up for the missing ingredient.
Out of respect for those who are dealing with a clinical diagnosis of Celiac disease, we should ensure that the widespread popularity of a gluten-free diet doesn’t hinder any research advancements or blunt the seriousness of gluten contamination when it comes to the health of those with intolerance.
Read more on gluten and gluten intolerance here.