The gluten-free diet: the truth behind the trend

Over the past decade, millions around the world have gone gluten-free. The protein found in wheat, barley and rye is often vilified and blamed for everything from diabetes to schizophrenia.

“The gluten-free diet has surpassed other diets like South Beach diet, Atkins, low-carb diet, organic food, veganism,” director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, Dr. Peter Green told Global News.

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He adds that best-selling books like Wheat Belly and Grain Brain are some of the reasons why there are so many common misconceptions about the gluten-free diet.

Below are a number of myths about gluten and the truth behind them.

Myth: Gluten causes damage to the gut:

True…for some

Gluten only causes damage to the gut of individuals who suffer from celiac disease.

Think of your small intestine like a tube,” explained registered dietitian, Andrea Miller.

“On the inside of that tube are these very tiny microscopic hair-like structures that line the inside our intestine. The function of those hair-like structures is the absorption of nutrients. When an individual with celiac disease is exposed to gluten, those hair-like structures, rather than standing straight up, they lie flat.”

Nutrients then just slide right across them and do not get absorbed. Not only does it lead to iron and other nutritional deficiencies but it also leads to symptoms like stomach pain, bloating, diarrhea, skin rashes, weight loss, bone problems and even behavioural issues.

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