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Gluten: The "new diet villain?"

Last week, I treated myself to something sweet on Valentine’s Day: a mini, gluten-free coconut cream cupcake. Do I suffer from celiac disease? No, but for some reason I thought going gluten-free (for the afternoon, anyway) would be a healthier route to take.

As it turns out, authors of a new Annals of Internal Medicine opinion piece on gluten intolerance might take me to task for doing so. They write that claims about the benefits of a gluten-free diet "seem to increase daily, with no adequate scientific support to back them up" and that gluten has become “the new diet villain" in the popular press. And yet, as Jeannine Stein explains in a Booster Shots entry:

Opting for a gluten-free diet isn't necessarily any healthier than a diet with gluten, and products are sometimes costly. If gluten intolerance is not truly an issue, there may be no advantages to cutting out wheat and other foods, because some substitute grains contain little fiber.

The researchers argue that more research should be done on nonceliac gluten-sensitivity, “and that ‘sense’ should prevail over ‘sensibility’ to prevent a gluten preoccupation from evolving into the conviction that gluten is toxic for most of the population. We must prevent a possible health problem from becoming a social health problem.”

Previously: Guest post: Flying the friendly skies while navigating the the challenges of eating gluten-free and A call for a new way to classify gluten-related disorders

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