Peter H.R. Green, M.D., a gastroenterologist and the director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, and his co-author Rory Jones, a science writer, wrote their new book, Gluten Exposed: The Science Behind the Hype and How to Navigate to a Healthy, Symptom-Free Life, in order to clear up some of the confusion around gluten. In this piece for mindbodygreen, they explain what people should know about eating a gluten-free diet.
Gluten is the most recent dietary sensation, blamed as the underlying multisystem ravager in our food supply. But few people are aware of the health risks that are hidden behind the hype surrounding the gluten-free diet. This is a regimen that has numerous side effects—and it could leave you far less healthy after a period of time on the diet than before you started.
If you have celiac disease, the gluten-free diet is a lifesaver. Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition in which gluten attacks and destroys the lining of the small intestine so that it is unable to absorb nutrients and therefore robs the body of what it needs to survive and thrive. The disease affects approximately 1 in every 100 people. The gluten-free diet is also necessary for those with the rare allergy to wheat to avoid reactions that can include anaphylaxis. It may also reduce symptoms for those who are gluten-sensitive. But a recent study showed that 86 percent of people who believed they were “gluten-sensitive” could actually tolerate it.
If going gluten-free is your way of avoiding carbs or a self-diagnosis for symptoms, there are seven key “side effects” of this treatment you should know about first. Consider this the "warning label" for a gluten-free diet: