The gluten-free fad has taken over grocery stores by storm, with many people saying they suffer from gluten sensitivity, gluten intolerance, or think going gluten-free is generally healthier. Unless you have the rare celiac disease (and we’re no way discrediting its severity), gluten intolerance and the health benefits of going gluten-free has been proven as nonsense. Here are four reasons why.
The scientist who helped publicize gluten sensitivity now discredits gluten intolerance.
In 2011, Peter Gibson, of the Monash University of Melbourne, published a study which found gluten caused gastrointestinal distress. Since, his research has largely been cited as evidence of gluten’s irritating effects on the body. However, Gibson would later come to question his own research, leading him to conduct a new study to determine if gluten-intolerance really did exist.
Gibson studied 37 individuals who identified as gluten-intolerant, participants who claimed that eating gluten triggered their digestive problems. The subjects meals were controlled, and any other potential digestive irritants (such as lactose and nitrates), were removed from their diet. The study, published in the journal Gastroenterology in 2014, found whatever was causing the participants digestive problems wasn’t gluten. Plus, he found people would get sick if they believed the food contained gluten, even if it didn’t.
Going gluten-free can be bad for your health.
Many people believe that a gluten-free lifestyle is synonymous with a healthy one, but there is little evidence to substantiate this belief. In 2013, a study published in Nutrients showed that a gluten-free diet can often contain more carbohydrates, more fat, and is lower in protein and fiber.
Additionally, people suffering from celiac diseases — who are forced to avoid gluten — typically have micronutrient deficiencies, according to a 2012 study in The Official Journal of the British Dietetic Association.
And another study, published in 2012 in The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, found that a gluten-free diet isn’t healthier than a traditional diet.
Gluten-free foods are overpriced.
Eating gluten-free foods doesn’t come cheap. In 2014, CBS reported that eating a gluten-free diet costs twice as much on average. And according to a 2008 study from Dalhousie Medical School, gluten-free foods cost 242 percent more.
Gluten-free might be a scam.
Dr. Oz, a leading and trusted voice on health, has gone so far to call gluten-free a scam.
“The most overrated superfood are gluten-free foods, which I really think are a scam in many settings. Not because these are bad people making bad products — most of us don’t need them.”
[Image via Brenda Willey/Flickr]