Whether it's cutting out refined sugars and high-fructose corn syrup or loading up on probiotic foods, making the right changes to your diet can lead to both immediate and long-term improvements for your health.
But not all health food trends are as beneficial as they seem.
With the rising awareness of celiac disease—in which an individual has an immune reaction to eating gluten—many health-conscious individuals are also making the switch to a gluten-free diet. In fact, a 2013 study found that 30 percent of people surveyed reported a desire to cut back on gluten consumption. But only an estimated 1 percent of Americans actually have celiac disease, the primary cause of gluten sensitivity. This means that the other estimated 29 percent might not have a dietary or medical need to give up gluten at all. And in doing so, they are largely giving up whole grains, with all their benefits.
That's why, as a family medicine physician, I often tell my patients who haven't been diagnosed with celiac or another gluten intolerance to fully consider the decision before tossing out whole-grain bread. Take the time to consider what you could be missing out on: