Devan McGuinness: Life (Un)Restricted


10 Misconceptions of the Gluten-Free Diet

From food to fad, the truth about the gluten-free diet

The gluten-free diet has been in the media a lot more over the past few years than ever before. From celebrities touting their gluten free diet to news programs reporting on the reasons for gluten-free, there have been a lot of myths surrounding the gluten-free diet. I have been eating gluten-free for 6 years now after a diagnosis of celiac disease and I'd like to clear up some of the most common myths I've come across about the gluten-free diet.

1) It's so expensive!

When you first take a look at gluten-free labeled food, you may gasp at the $6 loaf of bread and assume that this diet is only for the rich. While typically gluten food that's made to be gluten-free can be expensive, if you eat naturally gluten-free foods, the food bill may not be much more than any typical grocery bill. 

2) There is nothing left to eat!

When you first look at the gluten-free diet, you may immediately think, "oh, but bread!" and realize all you're giving up. When you take a larger look at things, you will quickly realize there is still so much you're able to eat.

3) You will lose weight

Not always true—some people actually gain weight on the gluten free diet. If you've been diagnosed with celiac disease, you may finally start to gain weight as your intestines begin to heal. If you're on a gluten-free diet, but still eating many servings of cookies or not-healthy food, you can be on the road to weight gain.

4) It's a fad diet

While there has been a large increase in available gluten-free prodcuts and many more are talking about the benefits, it's far from a fad. Gluten can be a serious allergy or intolerance for some people and others, like me, it's the only treatment plan for celiac disease. It's not to be compared to the new diet craze of the year.

5) You won't get the proper nutrients

It can be hard to think about how your diet can be getting all you need when you're cutting out a major food group for us North Americans. The truth is, you can definitely get the proper nutrients on the gluten-free diet and it's not that big of a learning curve. 

6) School lunches must be impossible

Sandwiches are probably a big staple in many lunches for kids at school. When you cut out gluten, you just have to think outside the box a little and there are so many options available to those lunches.

7) It's not fair to the kids if you eat gluten-free

We eat only gluten-free at home and my son and husband don't need to be on the diet. The truth is, we eat really well (just check out my Instagram pictures) and since we can't eat the quick mac and cheese, frozen chicken finger type meals, we eat quite healthy.

8) Everything tastes like cardboard

Maybe if you asked me 5 years ago, I would agree with this one, but these days it's so far from the case. Many companies are coming up with recipes for common gluten-containing products that taste and texture-wise is pretty close.  

9) Gluten-free food is so hard to find

A few years ago, I would have to go to a specialty store to find certain gluten-free products. Today, I can walk to my nearest grocery store and there is a huge section just for the gluten-free food. Not only that, but naturally gluten-free foods are everywhere—meat, vegetables, and fruits. 

10) Gluten-free diet is so much healthier 

While it is certainly healthier for people with celiac disease or intolerance or other health-related reasons for the diet, the products (unless naturally gluten-free like fruits and vegetables) are not any healthier for you than the regular gluten-containing products. Cookies, breads, pastas—even when glute-free, should still be eaten in moderation.

What are some of the myths that you've heard about the gluten-free diet

Photo credit: adapted from Richard North / Flickr

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