Healthy Living

Gluten-Free Diet Is Expensive And Brings Zero Health Benefits, Study Says

Gluten-free diet may not be effective at all and your wallet is the only thing losing weight. A new study debunked claims that the approach could help improve the health of people without celiac disease. 

The study, published in the journal Gastroenterology, suggests healthy people should continue eating gluten-containing foods. Researchers found that going gluten-free offers little to zero health benefits.

“It was myth-busting,” David Sanders, study author and a professor of gastroenterology at the University of Sheffield in England, told the New York Post. “There are no negative effects of gluten if you don’t have any symptoms of celiac.” 

Celiac disease is a condition that causes damage in the small intestine due to ingestion of gluten. Estimates show it affects one in 100 people worldwide. 

Rebecca Ditkoff, a registered dietitian from Manhattan, said it is also not necessary for healthy people to avoid gluten when trying to lose weight. She noted gluten-free food is “is actually less healthy” because they are more processed, lower in fiber and higher in fat and sugar. 

Researchers said their study is the first to use a double-randomized controlled trial to analyze the health benefits of the gluten-free diet. The findings come amid the growing number of people trying the approach despite being free of celiac disease or other gluten sensitive conditions. 

In 2018, the market for gluten-free products in the U.S. reached $2.7 billion, according to a recent report by Research and Markets. There were also best-selling books that claimed grains are “silent killers” because of gluten.

But the Sheffield study states gluten-free diet is just an expensive diet fad. Researchers said foods recommended by the approach cost 139 percent more than mass-market wheat-based products.

Take Matt Hopper, for example, who is one of the people that decided to ditch gluten-free diet recently. He started to eat pasta and bread again after not noticing any improvement in his stomach problems while on the diet. 

“I didn’t feel any better in terms of energy or the way my GI system was reacting to food,” Hopper said. 

He also felt the financial burden of being gluten-free. The 32-year-old spent an extra $100 or more on groceries for “flourless chocolate cakes.”

Gluten Pasta Pasta is one of the common foods that people avoid when on gluten-free diet. Pixabay

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