For people with celiac disease, living a gluten-free lifestyle isn’t a choice, it’s a necessity. Celiac disease triggers an immune reaction to gluten (found in wheat, barley, and some other grains), which causes damage to the lining of the small intestine and prevents nutrients from being absorbed properly. It can cause stunted growth, weight loss, digestive difficulties, and other serious health problems.

Because severe gluten intolerance has become more common in the last few decades, more and more people are driving up demand for gluten-free products. Interestingly, many of the people purchasing these products do not have a problem digesting gluten.

Recently, the gluten-free lifestyle has been touted as a healthy weight loss tool, causing many non-celiacs to jump on the gluten-free bandwagon. But is a diet without gluten inherently healthier? Will it help you lose weight? Or is it just a fad and marketing gimmick to sell more products?

Basis for the Hype

Is Gluten-Free a Gimmick? Many people who switch to a gluten-free diet do indeed lose weight. This is because many foods that are naturally gluten-free are also very good for you, such as fruits, vegetables, lean meats, beans, nuts, and seeds. Because of this, many people believe that simply cutting gluten from the diet will facilitate healthy weight loss.

The Reality

While some people do benefit from eliminating or cutting down on gluten, the gluten-free lifestyle is not necessarily inherently healthy. Junk food like corn chips, French fries and ice cream are typically gluten-free, but no one can argue that these foods are either healthy or part of a weight loss plan.

Packaged gluten-free cookies, cakes and snacks are no exception, but companies often take advantage of this consumer mindset and create/market gluten-free products to help boost sales.

Expense vs. Nutrition

If you’re not gluten intolerant but interested in a gluten-free lifestyle, do some research first. Try to focus on healthy whole foods, rather than strictly cutting all gluten from your diet. Packaged gluten-free products are very expensive, and no more nutritious than other packaged food. Focusing on naturally gluten-free foods gets you the most bang for your buck.

Is Your Body Image Getting You Down?

Remember, fad diets don’t work as well as the tried-and true weight loss methods of eating a balanced, healthy diet and exercising regularly.

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*The information on this page is not intended to be used as medical advice in any way. Always consult with your doctor for any health related concerns and before starting a new diet or exercise program. BOTOX® Cosmetic is a registered trademark of Allergan, Inc.