A recent poll by the NPD Group showed about 30% of adults want to cut down or be free of gluten in their diets. Are Americans just jumping on the bandwagon on this trend, or are there legitimate reasons to follow it?
Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RD, thinks that while there are valid reasons to cut gluten, a lot of people have unnecessarily joined the gluten-free bandwagon. For most people, there is nothing ‘bad’ about gluten.
According to research, only about 1% of the population has celiac disease. Anyone in this category should avoid gluten.
People should eat more foods that are naturally gluten-free, namely fruits and vegetables. This might help people eat fewer processed foods. Food marketers go to lengths to remove gluten, still leaving you with processed foods; and for the vast majority of us, whole grains (and whole wheat) are good for us.
If people generally eat a healthy and balanced diet, the overall risk of developing any nutritional deficiency is low. Does cutting gluten completely from the diet remind anyone of the fat-free craze of the late 1980s? More important, do you remember where that got us?
Resources: IDEA Food & Nutrition Tips