A few years ago, it was the low-carb diet and the South Beach Diet. Now you’re hearing all about Paleo and gluten-free diets. It seems that every new day brings a new diet trend.
Gluten-free eating is certainly on the rise. Gluten-free menus have popped up at restaurants, and entire markets stocked with gluten-free foods are now opening. Even Dunkin’ Donuts is coming out with a gluten-free donut.
This trend is certainly helpful for those suffering from issues related to gluten. According to a Time magazine article, about 1 in 133 people have celiac disease, which causes serious digestive issues in those affected. Some studies claim that as many as 1 in 16 have less severe sensitivities. But nearly one-third of Americans are trying to avoid gluten, which means that there are plenty of people avoiding gluten when they don’t necessarily need to do so.
Some people swear that going gluten-free made all the difference in their energy levels and stomach issues. So should you and your kids avoid gluten, too? Check with your doctor (and your pediatrician) before you take any drastic gluten measures. While there are tests that can determine if you’re suffering from celiac disease, they aren’t effective if you’re not eating gluten, and there aren’t yet good tests for gluten sensitivity.
If you don’t have symptoms of celiac disease or gluten sensitivity? Keep eating your fruits and veggies and whole grains—and keep reading labels to compare nutrition facts as gluten-free products are not necessarily healthier than their gluten-containing counterparts. G-free versions generally contain less fiber and are less likely to be fortified with vitamins. They also tend to be more expensive — why pay more if it’s not necessary?