You see gluten-free slapped on everything these days—cookies, pasta, beer, you name it. But are such foods really better for you? Here, the nitty-gritty about the G-word.
True or False? Gluten is bad for everyone.
False. A protein found in wheat, barley and rye, gluten has been blamed for everything from brain fog to autoimmune ailments. Yes, you should steer clear if you’re one of the 3 million Americans affected by celiac disease (which causes inflammation and damage to the small intestine) or one of the up to 18 million with gluten sensitivity (symptoms include bloating and stomach pain). But for everyone else, there has not been a single published study showing that gluten hurts you. In fact, nutritionists often recommend eating gluten-rich whole grains for their fiber and B vitamins.
True or False? Going gluten-free will help you lose weight.
False. A sugary, buttery cookie is a cookie, whether it’s gluten-free or not. So simply swapping cupcakes and chips for their gluten-free counterparts won’t do your waistline any favors. When people do lose weight avoiding gluten, it’s likely for the same reason they’d lose on a regular diet: by cutting back on processed snacks and splurges. People with celiac disease might actually gain weight on a gluten-free diet, because their small intestine finally absorbs nutrients properly.
True or False? Gluten is found in more than bread products.
True. Many people assume that going gluten-free means saying no just to bread, but the protein also might show up in soy sauces, marinades, sausage, lipstick and even some medications (it works as a binding agent). The easiest way to avoid it? Scan labels for a gluten-free seal.
Source: National Foundation for Celiac Awareness