Gluten be Gone?

Health, much like beauty and fashion, experiences trends. What’s the new super fruit? Sugar vs fat? Quinoa or Lentils? Fish oil or Flax Seed? Um, Atkins anyone? I’m most certainly not a health expert but I like to stay on top of the latest news, especially since health (i.e. diet and exercise) are major contributors to glowing skin. (I’m vain, I know. I work at a beauty company, what do you expect?).

Currently, one of the hottest topics in the health sphere is gluten.  If you asked someone a few years ago if they tried to avoid gluten, they’re answer would have been “glu-what?”.  However, now there is an entire aisle in most grocery stores devoted to keeping the g-word out of our diets. So what exactly is gluten and why are people avoiding it like it’s the new carb?

Simply put, gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Most recently, many people are attributing gluten to their tummy trouble and even weight gain. Researchers believe that there might be more than 3 million Americans with Celiac Disease, an immune response disorder that damages the small intestine and can cause abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, and even headaches, skin rashes and neurological problems. Millions more that suffer from some form of gluten intolerance or sensitivity.  Regardless of the stomach pains, bloats and even rashes, it seems that cutting back on gluten laden foods such as pizza and bagels couldn’t be that bad right? Several people, including some in our office, swear that a diet low in gluten has done wonders not only for their stomach but for their skin as well. There are even several up and coming skin care companies, such as MyChelle Dermaceuticals, boasting gluten free products!  If banning gluten was good enough for Oprah’s detox and Chelsea Clinton’s wedding cake, there must be something to it, right?

Not so fast… some experts believe that there is a backlash to the gluten free uprising.  Gluten free does not equate to calorie free, sugar free or fat free. Without gluten to bind food together, manufacturers turn towards fats and sugar to add flavor and substance.

So should we all ban the g-word for our pantries? Unless you have been diagnosed with Celiac or have a seriously gluten intolerance, in my very uneducated opinion giving gluten the cold shoulder is not entirely necessary. However, anything that minimizes the chip eating and maximizes the veggie consumption sounds alright to me!

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