The recent and most popular food flag alert trend of interest these days is gluten. It has now become widespread all over the globe for the past few years. Public awareness has arose and now research has shown that one in five is currently seeking a gluten free low carbohydrate alternative. Patients have approached me many times recently to request suggestions for a suspected gluten related problem. After several inquiries , I conducted a recent survey. Do you know what I found out? Most people I spoke to didn’t even know what gluten was. I told this to my 15 year old daughter and she told me to check out an amusing interview by Jimmy Kimmel on youtube. Its very funny and it demonstrates the same conclusion(check out the link here)
So now its time to ask the obvious question. Why do you want to give up gluten in favour of a gluten free diet?
This answer may give you some direction. Firstly, we can categorize gluten as a protein composite that is found primarily in grains such as wheat, barley , rye and some oats. It is used primarily in baking, because it binds the dough and makes it rise fuller. It is also a biding agent found in medications and vitamins. For a very small percentage of the population with autoimmune disorders, gluten can become quite serious. Specifically, in the cases of genetic celiac disease, gluten triggers an inflammatory reaction that causes immune cells to misfire and attack the walls of the intestine leading to inflammation and considerable gastro-intestinal pain. There is another small percentage group that do not have diagnosed celiac disease but rather have gluten sensitivity. In this case, the immune response may remain dysfunctional and symptoms will mimic celiac disease. A gluten-free diet is also often recommended in these cases. I have seen first hand ,by my own extended family members, the perils of gluten sensitivity and the remarkable recoveries from a gluten free diet.
Where does that leave the rest of the population who are not at risk? Is there an actual advantage to going gluten free? I say beware of your motives! There seems to be an underlying myth that somehow gluten free is more healthy in general. If over 20 % of the current population are switching over, there must be a compelling reason given the high premium one pays for gluten free products.

A general consensus is that by eliminating products that contain gluten, less carbohydrates will be consumed. If cutting out carbs for the purpose of weight loss is your rational, I caution you on what you replace them with. Its not the gluten in the wheat products that cause weight gain, its how refined the carbohydrate is. Refined foods found in processed white rice or soy is not going to help you in your weight loss quest.
Another consideration is that whole grains found in wheat are fortified with iron, vitamin B and folic acid, so it is not uncommon to note that followers of gluten free diets are suseptable to deficiencies. In addition, increased levels of lead and mercury have been reported due to higher intake of refined rice which absorb heavy metalsl from the ground compared to wheat grains.
So while it remains currently fashionable to go gluten free, always ask yourself why? If you come up with a compelling answer , then go for it! If you suspect celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, have yourself medically tested. Do some research.
Here are some favourable alternative suggestions for your consideration.
Consider whole grains. They are not processed and can actually lower your cholesterol and prevent heart disease
Avoid processed foods wherever possible. Most additives and preservatives contain gluten
Consider whole gluten free grains in wild rice, corn, quinoa, buckwheat , flax and soy
Naturally gluten free foods such as unprocessed nuts, seeds, beans, eggs, fish ,meat fruits and vegetables are healthy choices
As always, when implementing a new diet habit, the challenge is consistency and making it stick. If you are ready to go gluten free, follow the volcanic model of change.
MINDSET-understand that any radical diet restriction is a challenging and difficult undertaking. Be sure you have weighed the pros and cons with your decision and have a strong compelling answer to why you believe this is right for you
STRUCTURAL FRAMEWORK- Set up your home environment to eliminate the presence of gluten products to minimize your temptations. This includes all refined breads, cakes cookies and processed foods. Set up a habit loop to remind (CUE) yourself tor research all potential gluten free products and check labels when you shop
ACTION- Develop a consistent routine for gluten free consumption. Track your progress daily and reward yourself by creating a habit streak acknowledgement indicator.(there are plenty of apps that can do this for you). This will help reinforce your mindset to build confidence that you can successfully continue this.-
Finally, acknowledge your susceptibility level to gluten intolerance. If you are at high risk for either celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, then approach the gluten-free diet with absolute resolve. In other words, for the sake of a successful habit transformation, NO CHEAT DAYS. Please Share