Going Gluten Free: Not as Great as it’s Cracked Up to Be

It’s not too often that a life threatening medical condition sparks a crazed trend, but that is exactly what happened with going gluten free in the past few years. Valley decided to look into the harms of following the fad, that is, if you don’t actually have to.

Celiac disease sufferers are bound by not eating gluten — A.K.A your favorite breads and pasta — on the daily, and yet the diet has caught on with non-sufferers who want to lose weight or live a healthier lifestyle. But, what most people don’t know is that going gluten free isn’t as glamorous as celebrities make it seem.

For one, it can be difficult to even find gluten free products in some areas. And even though a lot of restaurants are beginning to accommodate diets more and more, it’s still common to find gluten free people searching menus for safe foods that they can eat. And when people do find these foods? They tend to be extra pricey compared to their non-gluten free counterparts. That’s not easy for the wallet to take, especially for college kids who are trying to save up anyways.

Besides price and accessibility, gluten free products usually lack certain important nutrients that our bodies really need, like fiber and iron. Without fiber, digestive systems can’t function normally and that can easily lead to weight gain and other dietary issues. There can also be possible weight gain since gluten free products often have more fat and sugar.

Not maintaining a healthy, balanced diet in general while being gluten free can be capable of losing excessive weight as well, and even decreasing overall mental health.  Preparation time for food increases too, so be ready to wait even longer for, well, pretty much any food. It may be because you need to cook the product longer, it takes longer to find it in the store, or your favorite restaurant’s kitchen now needs to prepare everything in a separate area for you unlike before your gluten free days.

So, why do people that don’t need to follow this outrageous diet do it anyways? It’s simple, really. They like to keep up with dietary trends. There may even be a placebo effect for some, meaning they want to believe it is working to their advantage so bad, that it actually appears to be working. Others, still, may find out that they really are gluten intolerant, so the diet does help them live a healthier life.

Whether people feel the need to go without gluten is because several celebrities have declared gluten their enemy — we’re looking at you Gwyneth Paltrow — or because people really just think it’s healthier to stay away from the protein known as the “glue that holds bread together,” it’s not as easy of a diet to stick to as our celiac friends make it seem.