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The Gluten Free Dieting Trend

The New Year is here and we’d like to make sure you’re off to a great start. There’s a fad diet that’s been circulating, which I’d like to address. Earlier this year, I wrote about the gluten free fad diet and would like to share some updated information on this growing trend. 

According to a poll conducted by the marketing and public relations agency Pollock Communications of more than 200 registered dieticians, gluten free will be the most popular approach to weight loss for 2013.  New York City based registered dietician Jenna Bell, PhD, told FoodNavigator-USA, an  online newsletter focusing on breaking news on food and beverage development, “consumers believe that gluten free will help them loss weight but research does not support this claim.” Dieticians recognize this as a fad and a trend for 2013 among consumers, but it is not a recommended strategy for weight loss.

That said, gluten free foods have provided an important option for individuals suffering from clinically diagnosed gluten intolerance (5 – 6% of the population) or celiac disease (1% of the population).

Ryan O’Malley, media relations manager at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formally known as the American Dietetic Association) agrees, telling FoodNavigator-USA “we don’t have an official position on gluten free diets used as weight loss tolls but we don’t recommend them for weight loss.” A clinical research dietician at the Center for Celiac Research commented that there are no scientific studies supporting the use of gluten free foods for weight loss and in fact “people on gluten-free diets often gain weight as many gluten free foods are quite calorie dense. Gluten free diets are often higher in fats and lower in vitamin B12, zinc, iron and folate.”

As I mentioned earlier, if you have a gluten intolerance or celiac disease, by all means, seek out and consume gluten free foods, but for most of us a healthy, well balance diet such as the Harvard School of Public Health’s version of the food plate would be the best way to go.

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