Going Gluten-Free: The Pros and Cons

The buzz around the health and fitness world is that going gluten free is one of the best new diets you can get behind.  Gluten free products can now be found lining the grocery store shelves and listed on the menu at your favorite restaurants. But is going gluten free healthier or just trendy? We’ve weighed the pros and cons to help you decide. Pro: When you give up gluten energy levels go up and fatigue is reduced.

One of the major symptoms associated with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity or intolerance is fatigue. It may not seem like a major symptom but for many who struggle with allergies to gluten, it is almost debilitating. When adopting a gluten free diet, this symptom essentially goes away and for those who do not have allergies to gluten, it can promote a boost in energy in every day life.

Con: Without knowledge of grain replacement, deficiencies in key vitamins could occur.

Many people turn to the internet to gain the appropriate knowledge for whichever diet fad they choose. However, what usually happens is vitamin deficiencies occur due to improper nutrition. To maintain a balanced diet it is important to know which other foods can replace the vitamins that are being taken out by choosing not to eat gluten.  These can include iron, calcium, magnesium, Vitamin D, B12, zinc, folate, niacin, and riboflavin. These vitamins are essential to health. Have no fear; they can easily be replaced by taking vitamins that can be purchased at health and wellness stores. Add taking your vitamins to your morning routine to make it an easy task to remember.

Pro: Skin problems might clear up if they occur due to eczema and psoriasis.

Though the research has not completely linked going gluten free to clearer skin, people who suffer from celiac disease, eczema, and psoriasis seem to find improvements in their skin conditions after adopting a gluten free diet. It is also said that going simply wheat free and not completely gluten free can help with skin conditions as well. Wheat allergies are tough to test for but when giving up wheat, many can see improvements in their skin which includes breakouts, redness reduction, and reduced puffiness.

Con: Gluten free foods have potential to cause weight gain because of higher levels of fats, calories, & sugars.

To make up for the taste and texture that gluten puts into food, many times gluten free products pack in the fats and sugars to add taste and texture to otherwise bland products. Going gluten free is sometimes acclaimed to be great for weight-loss. But like any other diet, if the results that are wanted aren’t packing on the pounds, calories have to be cut as well. A gluten free cupcake isn’t any healthier than a non-gluten free cupcake.

Pro: Bloating may be reduced.

Let’s be honest, bloating is the second worst “b-word” for girls. Bloating from wheat can be associated with digestive problems which can be easily reduced by going gluten free. Another major issue seen with gluten is a “wheat belly.” “Wheat belly” is something commonly associated with wheat and gluten. This can be reduced by reducing intake of grains or by adopting a gluten free diet. It is essentially caused by visceral fat surrounding organs and can be dangerous if not taken care of.

How to go gluten free:

While there are many other pros and cons to a gluten free diet, it’s a decision that you have to make on your own. Before going gluten free determine if you need to by speaking to a doctor about how it might benefit you. Try meeting with a registered dietician to help pick out the best foods to maintain a healthy and balanced diet. Your doctor and dietician can help to inform you on which foods you should eat and which foods are best to stay away from.