Three years ago, Miley Cyrus brought the party to the U.S.A. Today, she’s bringing her “gluten allergy” into the spotlight and jumping onto the celebrity bandwagon that is now claiming to lose weight by going gluten-free.
Others such as Lady Gaga, Gwyneth Paltrow and Russell Crowe have caught on as well. Is “gluten-free” just gossip? Or is it really a more healthy and beneficial way to lose weight? For 1 in 133 Americans, it’s not about keeping up with the latest fad. According to Shelley Case, RD and author of “Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide,” one percent of Americans have celiac disease and six to seven percent of Americans have what scientists call a “gluten sensitivity.” This allergy to wheat, barley, and rye causes individuals who are allergic or sensitive to gluten to develop reactions or symptoms such as anemia, rashes, diarrhea, and weakened bones to name a few. Celiac disease has over 300 symptoms–which go unnoticed in most cases. It wasn’t known that this range of symptoms all meant one diease: Celiac.
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Due to more awareness and research being presented about gluten intolerance, more and more people have been diagnosed with the disease. For junior Erin Steinbrick, her symptoms included eczema, vomiting, and stomach aches. She first found out she had Celiac four years ago.
“My sister was diagnosed with celiac, and my whole family had to get tested, and it was shown that I had celiac’s as well. That was the way they sort of confirmed it. When I went gluten free all of my symptoms went away,” she said. Steinbrick said within 48 hours of going gluten-free, her eczema almost completely disappeared. The reality of Celiac is not a fad to Steinbrick. According to her, the gluten-free “fad” diet has gone into “full swing.”
Steinbrick commented on her lifestyle as a fad and said, “It’s not healthy in the way that it will make people lose a ton of weight because it won’t,” she explained.
“It’s not good for people who don’t need to be gluten free to be missing those grains in their diets because it basically is poisoned toxins to my system, but for others it’s nourishment and vital minerals and fiber that they are not getting now by going gluten-free,” she said. Alessio Fasano, MD, director of the Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, explained most people who do not need to go gluten-free end up gaining weight.
“Gluten-free muffins, bread, crackers, and cookies are a lot higher in sugar and fat, and they tend to have more calories,” Case explained. In a case study with the University of Maryland, a full 81 percent of subjects put on pounds after going gluten-free for two years. Steinbrick said, “The carby stuff– the [gluten-free] breads and pastas, are more carbohydrates than normal breads and pastas because it is made different.” Going on a gluten-free diet is more equivalent to maintaining a low-carb diet.
“People swear by it,” Steinbrick continued, “If you switch to gluten-free products that’s not going to help you out, but if you don’t eat the crackers or the bread you would lose weight.”
However, the fad surrounding the gluten-free diet has not only made people more aware of the disease, it has also made more gluten-free products available. This increase in awareness has made dealing with Celiac easier for people like Steinbrick. “I think it is good for me and other people who need to be gluten-free because it gives us more press about becoming gluten-free and Celiac disease, so there are more foods available and there’s more options and variety now because so many people have gone gluten-free.” If you find yourself getting symptoms after eating a whole bowl of pasta, try cutting back on your gluten intake.
But do not look to the gluten-free diet for the latest way to lose a few pounds. Research proves this will not be beneficial. Just because Miley Cyrus has done it doesn’t mean you should.
I mean have you seen her haircut? She is no role model.
Stick to your gut.
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