Gluten Free Diet: Friend or Fad?: May 24, 2012

When it comes to diets, gluten-free is gaining a following.

“I think a lot of people just hop on the train thinking they’re going to lose weight,” says Kaylee Robinson.

Eliminating gluten is a must for those with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes a malabsorption of nutrients.

“Patients who are diagnosed with celiac disease have to avoid a protein called gluten and gluten is found in wheat, rye and barley,” says Marjorie Chutkan, a registered dietician with Lee Memorial Health System.

But is it for everyone? A recent poll found a growing number of people are giving up gluten cold turkey, with no medical cause. It has experts weighing in on whether this diet is ‘friend or fad’.

“Adapting the gluten free diet, its not something we recommend for regular people because you might find that you become deficient if you don’t plan your meals properly,” says Chutkan.

Still almost 50% of people asked thought ‘gluten-free’ meant healthier and 30% of them bought gluten free foods to manage their weight. Turns out, gluten free products tend to be more expensive and higher in sugar, carbohydrates and calories. It doesn’t add up to Kaylee.

“Because after you do look into its not what it’s supposed to do,” says Robinson.

Before trying any fad diet, check with your doctor, because being healthy never goes out of style.