Gluten Free Diet: A Treatment Not A Fad

Tayyiba Akbar Ali/ Qatar University
Dietitian Student
12 November, 2017

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A gluten free diet excludes all foods that contain gluten or are contaminated with gluten. Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, barley and rye. Gluten free diet is used as treatment for a medical condition called celiac disease or people who are sensitive to gluten. Celiac disease is a condition in which protein that is present in wheat, barley and rye can damage the small intestine (part of stomach). Foods that contain gluten can cause discomfort in people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Hence, they follow a gluten free diet to control their signs and symptoms and prevent complications. A Gluten free diet is a necessity for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Mentioned below are the signs and symptoms of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity:

  • Fatigue
  • GI symptoms (bloating, diarrhea, etc)
  • Infertility
  • Joint pain
  • Repeated fetal loss
  • Unexplained delayed puberty

Foods that contain gluten are:

  • Barley (malt, malt flavoring and malt vinegar are usually made from barley)
  • Rye
  • Triticale (a cross between wheat and rye)
  • Wheat
  • There are other foods that need to be watched as they might be contaminated with gluten such as oats.

Foods that are gluten free:

  • Corn
  • Potato
  • Rice
  • Soybean
  • Tapioca
  • Arrowroot

"It is now the most popular diet (gluten free diet) in Hollywood”, quoted by CNN news network.

Now going on a gluten free diet has become a trend. Many people have distanced themselves from foods that contain gluten (without their doctor’s recommendation). Gluten free diet is not recommended for weight loss. People who go on gluten free diet for weight loss can cause themselves more harm than benefit. There is no evidence that the gluten free diet has significant benefits to the general population rather gluten free diets are high in sugars and fats, low in calcium, iron and B vitamins. Not only this but gluten free foods are also costly.

Rather than following a gluten free diet for weight loss, one should restrict calories and make healthy lifestyle choices. As weight loss comes from a healthy balanced diet and not from whether the food is gluten or not gluten free. People, who have celiac disease or have gluten sensitivity, should strictly follow a gluten free diet. A Gluten free diet should not be used as a weight loss strategy. Hence, gluten free diet is a treatment and not a fad diet for weight loss.

Some healthy diet tips:

Mentioned below are some healthy tips that can help in reducing weight:

  • Eat a balanced diet (restrict junk food)
  • Choose fresh food products
  • Consume fiber-rich foods
  • Reduce salt intake
  • Choose low-fat and
  • Low-calorie foods and lean meat cuts.
  • Choose skimmed or low-fat dairy products
  • Choose boiled, steamed, baked, grilled or stewed foods
  • Consume an appropriate food portion size, and choose small food packages
  • Drink plenty of water instead of juices
  • Be physically active and exercise regularly



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