Gluten Free Diet and It's Popularity

I’m just going to share my thoughts on the gluten free diet and its increase in popularity. I’m grateful that there are more places offering gluten free food in Trinidad and Tobago but there needs to be more education on the reasons why the gluten free diet exists in the first place. I’ve noticed this pattern recently, from hearing people talk and reading the random articles about non-celiac people going gluten free and their main reason is to lose weight or to become healthy. I’ve never considered the gluten foods such as wheat, barley or rye as unhealthy foods. They are actually really good for you if you get them in the right form. If you want to eat healthier avoid refined grains and go for whole grains. If your goal is to lose weight and you do not suffer from a medical condition that needs to be treated with a gluten free diet, you could do the following: lower your carbs, eat more fruits and veggies and exercise more.

There are important nutrients in wheat, barley and rye. There are actually side effects from going on a Gluten free diet if you are not careful. According to Jane Anderson, you have to “pay particular attention to your intake of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folic acid (all B vitamins), along with your iron intake, to make sure you're getting the recommended daily allowances”. when you are on a gluten free diet. People on gluten free diets tend to take more vitamin supplements to make up for what is lost. Other side effects that could appear from a gluten free diet are: weight gain, increase in cholesterol levels, constipation/diarrhea (due to change in fiber intake) and weight loss. I experienced drastic weight loss when I went on the Gluten free diet. There were limited things for me to eat and I ended up with a low calorie diet around 1400-1500. Gluten free products such as cereals, breads, pasta, etc weren’t readily available in Trinidad and so I ate a lot of rice, veggies and meat. According to Gluten Free Side Effects article, “if you're overweight or underweight at diagnosis, you can expect to see your weight tend to normalize as a side effect of the gluten-free diet”. I was overweight when I started the diet in 2010 and I’ve been at a constant healthy weight for the past 2 years with little exercise (once a week).

I get disappointed to see when local restaurants, caterers, bakers, chefs, etc, offer food that are gluten free but with no other allergen-free options such as, dairy free, soy free or egg free. A lot of people who have celiac disease or gluten intolerance suffered from leaky gut which affected the digestion of certain foods and also developed food intolerances. Many well-known gluten free products are gluten free, dairy free, egg-free or soy free. If you are offering gluten free food, at least have other options that would be mostly allergen free. In my perspective, this would greatly increase the amount of customers. Non-celiacs or gluten-sufferers would not be able to notice if something is gluten free or not. They would not feel any side effects so they should save their money and not get caught in the gluten free bandwagon buying expensive gluten free products. Sorry if this post sounded like a rant but I get frustrated sometimes when I see someone stating they have gluten free food and after investigating, find out that there is milk/butter/cheese, etc added and I can’t eat it L



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