Why is gluten-free a risky way of eating?

Dear Dr. Mo: Gluten-free food is gaining in popularity and suddenly a lot of people think gluten is bad for health – is that true and should I consider a gluten-free diet?

Dear reader: Actually no, going gluten-free for no particular reason can be a very risky business.

This is NOT a gluten-free bread - it is a multi grain

This is NOT a gluten-free bread – it is a multi grain

Why gluten-free diets can be bad for you?

Gluten-free diets exclude many whole grains and are lower in fiber content while higher in simple carbohydrate content. 

Just to remind you that simple carbohydrates (coming from simple sugars and refined grains) impair our tooth health, add (a lot) to our weight, increase the triglycerides and could disturb our normal blood sugar levels – all this in turn leads to heart disease, diabetes, stroke etc.

Why is fiber so important?

Fiber is digested slowly in the gut and this slow break down of fiber also slows down absorption of sugar, which is good news for diabetes management; fiber controls the cholesterol level by preventing some of it from being absorbed.

Fiber maintains the naturally occurring bacteria in our gut fit and well fed and these in turn boost our immune response and provide protection from cancer.

Fiber fills you up and you feel satiated for longer, which is great for weight control and also, fiber improves regularity of bowel movements so it’s a natural remedy for constipation.

The verdict

Unless you’ve been diagnosed with Celiac disease or dermatitis herpetiformis, there is absolutely no known reason to go gluten-free and as I said, gluten-free can be bad for your health so do speak to your doctor before considering it – it may not be good for you.

If you are planning to test yourself for Celiac disease, don’t stop eating gluten before definitive diagnosis – if you stop gluten before being tested, it will make the diagnosis more difficult.

Yours in health,

Dr. Mo

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