Is Gluten-Free Bad Dietary Advice for the General Population?

Is Gluten-Free Bad Dietary Advice for the General Population?




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A little background, the gluten free food industry has grown at a rate of 28% annually from 2004 to 2011. Sales in 2012 were expected to reach 2.6 billion. The most often cited reason consumers claim to purchase gluten free products is their perception of being healthier when compared to their gluten containing counterparts. Despite the health claims and surging popularity of a gluten-free diet, there is no published evidence supporting benefits to the general population at large. There is, in fact, some evidence to the contrary, suggesting that gluten itself may provide some health benefits.

There are indications for a gluten free diet, including celiac disease, gluten sensitivity and wheat allergies. There is also some data to suggest that certain diseases may benefit from a gluten free diet including: systemic lupus erythematosus, dermatitis herpetiformis, irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, thyroid disease, and psoriasis.

In conclusion, gluten free diets are essential for certain individuals, for example celiacs disease and gluten intolerance. However, there is no published evidence to support weight loss claims for a gluten free diet. Gluten rich grains also provide many health benefits. Finally, and most importantly, there is no evidence to suggest that following a gluten free diet has any significant health benefits to the general population. There is some evidence that a gluten free diet can adversely affect gut health in individuals without celiac or gluten intolerance. More research is needed to further deduce the the potential benefits and consequences of the general population consuming a gluten free diet.

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