Gluten Free – A Fad Diet?
What is a fad diet? I only asked because a few commentators have suggested that gluten-free is the latest in a long line of fad diets – similar to the low carb Atkins Diet craze of a few years back, or the hunter-gatherer diet – an eating regime supposedly enjoyed by our ancestors of 2.5 million years ago.
These types of diet – normally endorsed by a celebrity or two – spring into being from nowhere, gets ample media attention, and then disappear within the space of 12-18 months.
For the 1 in 100 people in the UK who suffer from coeliac disease – a severe intolerance to gluten – eating an appropriate diet is essential for preserving their health. For the uninitiated, coeliacs can suffer from stomach cramps, severe bloating, diarrhoea, headaches and other debilitating symptoms from eating foods that contain gluten.
But what about everyone else? The list of well-known figures opting not to eat gluten is lengthening by the week. Lady Gaga, Gwyneth Paltrow, Rachel Weisz, Jennifer Aniston, and Victoria Beckham all avoid gluten. So far, so fad.
However, it is not just trend-hungry celebs that are going gluten-free.
The list of elite athletes who have ditched gluten is also growing. These include Novak Djokovich, Andy Murray and the US pro cycling team. All of them claim that the change in their diet has boosted their performance. In the case of Mr Djokovich, he clinched his first Wimbledon title a few weeks after ditching gluten.
In the US, medical experts are giving weight to the idea that removing gluten from your diet can benefit a much wider group than just coeliacs.
This from Doctor and author Michelle Pick, writing in the Huffington Post two weeks ago:
“It may seem like a fad, but I’ve been taking [non-celiac] patients off of gluten for years, and I honestly can’t think of anything in my practice that makes as dramatic a difference in health and wellness as following a gluten-free diet.”