Five good reasons to stay gluten-free

Nearly every day I come across headlines spouting off the same “breaking story” that sounds a little something like this:

This just in: gluten-free diets are terribly dangerous and putting millions at risk!

I hope no one actually believes this crock of you-know-what…

But the sad truth is, stories like this are actually turning up in the medical literature. And frankly, I’ve had about enough of it.

I don’t know what kind of bug crawled up the conventional medical community’s collective rear end. But despite knowing next to NOTHING about proper nutrition, they’re quick to condemn just about every worthwhile diet health-conscious people gravitate to.

So perhaps it’s time to take a step back and ask ourselves why?

I’ve already got at least one potential answer: The AMA and all of the other medical powers-that-be are in bed with Big Pharma and Big Food because none of them could function without their “blood money.”

But hey, that’s just me being paranoid… or is it? Allow me to bring you up to speed on this latest nonsense…

According to a recent editorial smear headlined, “Five Reasons to Avoid Going Gluten-Free,” it’s been more than a decade since the gluten-free diet became a staple in popular culture.

And yes, I have been recommending gluten-free diets my entire career, thanks for asking. Which gives me a good quarter century of clinical experience with this so-called “trend.” (Not that I’m keeping count or anything…)

It is true, however, that there are a lot more gluten-free options at grocery stores these days. There are also a lot more restaurants catering to this dietary restriction than there were even ten years ago. When I first suggested to patients that they eliminate gluten, they used to react as if I had asked them to let me chop off an arm—completely incredulous without the first clue as to where to begin.

Things are different now. And that’s not just good news for patients with celiac disease. That’s good news for everyone with a genuine interest in improving their health.

Of course, feeling better apparently isn’t good enough for some “experts.” Like the doctor quoted in the article I mentioned, who stated that “anything can potentially harm if it’s not needed and misdirected.”

That, my dear reader, is exactly what this clown said about eating gluten-free. Note nothing was said about taking useless medication, mind you, where such commentary might actually be appropriate…

And it gets better. Here’s their laughable take on the five so-called “risks” practitioners need to be aware of in their patients who’ve gone gluten-free:

  1. It might not prevent heart disease. The theory goes like this: If gluten increases inflammation — and it does — then removing it may reduce atherosclerosis and cardiac death.

One paper said this isn’t true. So apparently, that’s a good reason to tell patients to avoid going gluten-free?! Well, that’s some interesting logic…

  1. It could cause nutrient deficiencies. Apparently from lack of fiber…

    Obviously, mainstream medicine buys into the whole notion that fiber is a “silver bullet” when it comes to preventing colon cancer and heart disease. It’s not—but even if it was, there are plenty of gluten-free fiber sources.

    Last I checked, vegetables were packed with it. As for key nutrients like folate, B12, vitamin D, calcium, iron, zinc, and magnesium… eat veggies, meat, and eggs. Take nutritional supplements if you’re really worried about it. Nobody needs enriched bread products to get these. Try a multi-vitamin (but as I’ve written before, not just any kind will do.)

  2. It could lead to obesity and diabetes. Yes, that’s actually what they’re saying — on account of the sugar added to “gluten-free” products. But you know what? This is a “fake food” problem — one with a very simple solution: DON’T EAT PROCESSED FOODS.

    Instead, eat real, whole foods — the majority of which are naturally gluten-free. Imagine that!

  3. It’s a source of arsenic and heavy metal exposure. This absurd argument does actually have legitimate roots. At least one recently published report found that gluten-free diets had significantly higher levels of total arsenic, mercury, lead, and cadmium. But this is likely due to an over-reliance on rice. So once again, I have an easy solution: Stop eating rice. A healthy diet doesn’t need any grains.

  4. It costs too much. Gluten-free products apparently cost twice as much as gluten-containing products. And knowing how Big Food likes to peddle “diet” foods at a premium, that’s not too surprising. But it also doesn’t matter, because guess what? You shouldn’t be eating them anyway.

Do any of these sound like compelling reasons to discourage patients who feel better after going gluten-free? (And for the record, more than 60 percent of patients who try eating this way report benefits.)

Yeah… I don’t think so either.