I posted a picture of macarons and a glass of wine on my Instagram page yesterday and received a few questions whether the macarons were gluten-free. Because I don’t know much about the gluten-free diet and wasn’t quite sure how to answer, I did a few minutes of research that left me with a ton of more questions.
I see people promoting gluten-free on daily basis, but haven’t paid much attention to it because I only saw it as a buzzword. However, having two people ask me if the macarons were gluten-free got my attention and got me thinking –
Are people going gluten-free only because it’s hip to do so, or because they really have to?
In order to fully understand what gluten-free actually is, I started with the basics.
What is Gluten and why is it bad?
Gluten refers to the proteins in wheat, barley and rye. Most sources claim gluten is safe for everyone except those with celiac disease and gluten intolerance. According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, celiac disease affects 1 in every 141 people (around 1% of the population) in the U.S.
Many have chosen to go gluten-free without having a gluten intolerance, but because they believe it’s the healthier option.
But is it?
I read an article that lists some of the effects of going gluten-free.
“First it can affect weight loss” both positively and negatively. If starches are replaced by healthier options like quinoa (which does not contain gluten), the effect will be positive. However, because food manufacturers add extra fat or sugar to make it tastier, it can backfire by causing weight gain.
Aside from causing you to potentially gain weight, gluten-free can also cause nutrient and mineral deficiencies.
Another interesting article I came across went into further detail as to why going gluten-free, unless necessary, may not be such a good idea.
“Complex carbohydrates found in food containing gluten are vital to the body. They provide fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that the body craves to stay full and satisfied”.
As pointed out, gluten-free not only causes vitamin and mineral deficiency, but it can slow down the metabolism.