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Gluten Myths – Busted!

By Sara Butler

People everywhere have been focusing on gluten over the last couple of years. Is it bad for you or is it good for you? Should you avoid gluten or is it not something you need to worry about. There are many people choosing to live a gluten-free lifestyle, but is that really necessary? Here are a few things you may believe to be true about gluten that are actually not true at all!

The Myth: Gluten is Toxic

This one is simply not true at all, but with so many people striving to remove gluten from their diets, it may seem like you’re missing something. Well, here’s the real deal: Gluten isn’t harmful to you unless you have celiac disease, which is an allergy to gluten and wheat. If you don’t have celiac disease there is zero evidence to support the benefits of a gluten-free lifestyle.

If you don’t need to kick gluten out of your diet for health reasons and you choose not to eat it anyway, then you’re really missing out on some important whole grains that can help provide fiber as well as minerals and vitamins your body needs.

The Myth: People Aren’t Made to Eat Gluten

Many people think if your cave-dwelling ancestors didn’t eat it, then you shouldn’t either; that’s simply not the case. Our bodies may not produce the enzymes necessary to fully break down the proteins found in gluten, but if you don’t have an allergy to wheat then it’s not that big of a deal.

Myth: Without Having Celiac Disease, There’s No Reason to Avoid Gluten

OK, now it’s moving into more delicate territory. It is true that if you don’t have celiac disease then gluten should be perfectly fine for you to eat, but there are a very small number of people who don’t have celiac disease but do have a reaction to gluten – this is called gluten sensitivity.

Gluten sensitivity is very vague, and there are no definitive symptoms or tests that can be done to see if you have gluten sensitivity. Researchers do know that gluten sensitivity is a real thing, and it’s a different type of immune system response than celiac disease.

Myth: A Gluten-Free Diet Ensures Better Health

As mentioned, whole grains are a part of a healthy and complete diet. But getting rid of gluten isn’t the ticket to a healthy lifestyle either. Just because you cut out gluten doesn’t mean you’re cutting out on the myriad of other things that aren’t very healthy for you. There are gluten-free cakes, cookies, and other highly processed foods, and none of those are good for you either!

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