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Gluten-Free Diets: Why You Need To Do Your Research Before You Cut Wheat Out

14/08/2014 16:43 | Updated 20 May 2015

Gluten-free diets are recommended for people who suffer from Celiac disease - an intolerance to the protein found in grains such as wheat and barley.

Yet more and more of us are choosing to cut out gluten - not because of an allergy, but because we want to find an effective way to lose weight.

While there's no doubt cutting out foods like bread, pasta and processed meat will help you to stay slim, recent research into this eating regime suggests it's not a sensible diet option for those who aren't actually sensitive to gluten.

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Dr. Alessio Fasano, founder and director of the Centre for Celiac Research at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, spoke to news site Boston.com about the effects of living a gluten-free life.

"I would not call it a healthier diet, or something you should be on to lose weight," Dr. Fasano told the site.

"Because if you consume the alternate food options, they can often be higher in fats."

From a doctor's point of view, the idea that gluten-free diets are a food trend is a worry.

"We really have a problem when we call this medical treatment a fad diet. The estimated prevalence of people who need to be on a gluten-free diet is 10 percent, but this industry and books like Grain Brain would rather estimate it's at 100 percent."

The article also highlights the mega-dollar success that comes with the rise of a food fad, with Mintel projecting the industry "will reach more than $15 billion in sales annually by 2016." Wow.

The growth of the dieting obsession is astonishing, but perhaps the most concerning matter of all is the lack of understanding that comes with it.

As Jimmy Kimmel found out, the gluten-free dieters in Los Angeles don't even know what gluten is.

The lesson? Learn what you're cutting out and consider your reasons for doing it before you prevent yourself from eating pizza on a Friday night.

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