By Zach

The rumors are out about gluten-free lifestyles being a waste of time and money for people who don’t actually have an intolerance to gluten. However, as we know, some rumors are true, yet some are not, and some are just used to fan the flames of badmouthing just for slander’s sake.  Regarding gluten-free diets being a waste of time and money heavily depends on the individual and their intentions of abstaining from gluten.

If we were to ask celebrities like Oprah and Gwenyth Paltrow, who are cheerleaders for gluten-free, they would tell us something along the lines of Miley Cyrus’s recent twitter post, which reads: “Everyone should try no gluten for a week! The change in your skin, phyisical [sic] and mental health is amazing! U won’t go back.” However, if you poll the average gluten-free goer, then you might find that some are just “In it to thin it,” which really isn’t the most practical intention. Just like Atkins, vegetarian or vegan eating habits, a gluten-free eating habit may seem like a healthier alternative, but the healthy aspects of these diets is the dedication and discipline applied to them. The fact that bacon is Atkins-friendly, Oreos are vegan and potato chips are vegetarian debunks the theory that just because you participate in these diets doesn’t automatically mean you are or will become a slim and lithe health nut.

Sugar, calories, fats and carbs are all active compounds in gluten-free foods that any conscious eater should balance throughout their diet. Of course, all these contents are not diabolical, they are essential for sustaining one’s fitness and figure. What’s deceptive about eating gluten-free is that it appears to be low-carb and seems to ward off the world of sticky sweets, which is not the case at all. To illustrate, we just published an article about all the chocolaty gluten-free items that Hershey’s has to offer, which definitely don’t skimp on the fat and saturated fats. This is to say, the gluten-free grocery store has its fair share of tantalizing temptations.

Statistics taken from a survey by Time suggest that only about 8-12% of people are gluten-free for gluten intolerant reasons (1 out of 133 being Celiacs), 50% are gluten-free to be “healthier” and 30% are gluten-free to control their weight. Despite the promotions from celebrities and whoever else, it should be noted that gluten-free and healthier eating are not interchangeable, though eating less processed foods, pizza and carb-loaded foods is usually a step in a lighter direction.

This is not to say that a gluten-free diet cannot be beneficial. In fact, a study of 3,000 people who were diagnosed with gluten sensitivity and then put on a gluten-free diet ended up feeling fewer gastrointestinal problems and showed significant signs of improvement in terms of their health. Also, whether you believe it or not, a placebo effect might play a role in why a lot of gluten tolerant people still tout the gluten-free diet. David Levitsky, a nutrition and psychology professor at Cornell University, opines “If you believe in a cause of your disorder, it becomes the cause.” He continues with, “We see this in many different studies. If you believe it, you change your behavior in the direction of being cured.”

So whether your reasons for being gluten-free are due to you actually being allergic to gluten or because you are trying to slenderize your structure, keep in mind, that you’ll still have to discipline yourself to be healthy and fit because a gluten-free diet doesn’t automatically pump nutritious foods into your body nor give you celebrity curves.