Do you need to cut out gluten?

With all the buzz about going gluten-free, clients are always asking me if they should cut it out of their diets. I’m not a doctor or an expert on the effects of gluten, but I’ll share my answer in hopes that it can help those of you wondering the same thing.

What is gluten?

Gluten is the protein content in wheat. For a visual, it’s what makes dough gooey and stretchy.

Why do some people need to avoid it?

Celiac disease is the true, diagnosed intolerance to gluten. Anyone with celiac disease has to cut out gluten because it attacks their bodies.

There is a large amount of research suggesting harmful effects of gluten on the body, both mentally and physically; however, just as not everyone is allergic to peanuts, not everyone responds negatively to gluten.

Think of gluten as you think of dairy. There are reasons some people should not have dairy, and the reasons differ in severity. Some people will have a life-threatening allergic reaction, some are lactose intolerant so their stomachs will be upset by it, and some people have problem skin due to dairy. Then, there’s the whole slew of people who can eat all the dairy they want with no ill effects. 

How do I know if I need to cut it out?

Assess how you feel eating your current diet that contains gluten. If you feel well, have energy, don’t experience digestion issues and can concentrate easily, you’re doing fine and should keep up whatever you’re doing. If you can’t tick all those boxes, do a trial removal and see if any of them fall into place.

Things to consider:

Going gluten-free is not a fad diet to get you skinny, and gluten-free foods aren’t magically free of fat and calories; only gluten.

As with anything, too much of a something is not good, but if you don’t experience any ill effects, removal of it entirely isn’t necessary either.

Do your research, but also do a self-check. If you don’t have a negative response to gluten, eat it in moderation, just like everything else.