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Does a Gluten-Free Diet have Health Benefits?

New kinds of diets like the keto diet have become popular with new weight loss trends. One popular diet is the gluten-free diet. Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye, and barley, which are commonly found in foods like breads, pastas, and oats. Those on the gluten-free diet may avoid these foods, believing that they contribute to negative side effects. However, gluten is most harmful to those with celiac disease. A gluten-free diet has minimal benefits to most people.

Many have claimed the benefits of a gluten-free diet for even those without celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity. Some perceived benefits of a gluten-free diet are weight loss,

better overall health, increased digestive performance, and better athletic performance. There is not enough evidence from research that a gluten-free diet actually supports weight loss. Ironically, a gluten-free diet has been correlated with weight gain, diseases like type 2 diabetes, and other deficiencies in the body. This is because foods often rich with the protein gluten also contain copious amounts of fiber, iron, and calcium, causing deficiencies in those that are on a gluten-free diet. However, weight gain from a gluten-free diet may be caused by over-reliance on junk food options rather than the absence of gluten itself. Furthermore, gluten promotes efficient digestion, which is necessary for overall good health. Thus, a gluten-free diet does more harm than good, and a balanced diet, instead of a restricting diet like keto, is preferable for most.

Those without celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity should follow the USDA’s MyPlate recommendations for a true balanced meal. For women 2,000 calories is recommended a day and for men about 2,500 calories by the UK’s NHS. However, age, disease, medications, size, and activity can vary the amount of calories needed for each person. According to USDA’s MyPlate recommendations, someone over the age of 14 who needs 2,000 calories a day should eat 2 cups of fruits, 5½ ounces of protein, 2½ cups of vegetables, 3 cups of dairy, and 6 ounces of grains a day. While amounts of each food group eaten each day can vary, these are general requirements that should be followed in terms of the ratios of food groups eaten.

The gluten-free diet is very unsustainable for most people, and it will not have benefits for those not suffering from gluten sensitivities. USDA’s MyPlate recommendations suggest that grains should be the food group eaten the most in a day, and many grains contain gluten. So, eating gluten is inevitable for good health. For specific recommendations according to your calorie needs, please check MyPlate USDA as well as consult a health care provider.



Diet Review: Gluten-Free for Weight Loss. Harvard T.H. Chan.


Nutrition and healthy eating. Mayo Clinic. 2021 December 11.


What is Gluten? Celiac Disease Foundation. 2021 January 26.

What should my daily intake of calories be? NHS. 2019 October 24.


Your MyPlate Plan: 2000 Calories, Age 14+ Years. USDA.


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