NOV 11, 2017 6:39 AM PST

How a Gluten-Free Diet Can Harm More than Help

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

In the past several years gluten-free foods have been more popular than ever. Just peruse a grocery store aisle and you'd likely come across products marketed as gluten-free. Moreover, restaurants are getting in on the action too, offering gluten-free options on their menu.

While a gluten-free diet may have been linked as a weight-loss strategy, the basis for this diet is a serious health condition known as celiac disease.

Celiac disease is on one of the most pernicious gastrointestinal conditions brought on by the presence of gluten in foods, and affects about 1 in 133 Americans. The condition is an autoimmune disorder triggered by gluten, which is a protein found in common foods like bread and pastas. Unlike a food allergy, gluten causes several autoantibodies to be produced, which go on to wreak havoc in many organs. Notably, villi - finger-like projections that line the intestines - are most vulnerable to attack. This leads to the classic celiac symptoms, which include diarrhea, abdominal distension, and other ailments associated with malabsorption of nutrients. Currently, there is no cure for celiac disease. The only effective treatment for the condition remains a diet completely devoid of gluten.

Because celiac sufferers have to avoid carb-loaded foods like bread, cereal, and pasta, along with many high calorie junk foods, they may experience some weight loss. But before you think about jumping on the gluten-free train, just remember that celiac patients restrict their diets to avoid serious health issues, not for weight loss purposes. In fact, healthy people who forgo gluten are seriously short-changing their nutrition and incurring health risks unnecessarily. Watch the video to learn why a gluten-free diet is not for everyone.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
SEP 15, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Carbon-rich Planets May Be Full of Diamonds
SEP 15, 2020
Carbon-rich Planets May Be Full of Diamonds
Researchers from Arizona State University and the University of Chicago have found that carbon-rich planets outside our ...
OCT 01, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Four Lakes Detected Under Martian Surface
OCT 01, 2020
Four Lakes Detected Under Martian Surface
  Researchers from Roma Tre University in Italy have confirmed the existence of four large lakes under the ice at M ...
OCT 07, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Discovery of Phosphine on Venus - What Does It Mean?
OCT 07, 2020
Discovery of Phosphine on Venus - What Does It Mean?
A Nature Astronomy paper in September, titled "Phosphine gas in the cloud decks of Venus", has led t ...
OCT 14, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
The CRISPR Nobel Win from Different Angles
OCT 14, 2020
The CRISPR Nobel Win from Different Angles
CRISPR-Cas9 was THE buzz word in the world of science after the Nobel Chemistry Prize announcement last week. But depend ...
OCT 29, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Water Found on Moon Enough to Sustain a Lunar Base
OCT 29, 2020
Water Found on Moon Enough to Sustain a Lunar Base
For the first time, scientists have found water on the moon's sunlit surface. Coupled with other evidence of water i ...
NOV 18, 2020
Plants & Animals
This Bat Species Uses Masks for Mating
NOV 18, 2020
This Bat Species Uses Masks for Mating
From pandemic precautions to televised talent shows, masks are having a moment. Even this bizarre bat species has a buil ...
Loading Comments...