It feels like everyone today is “trying to cut out carbs” and is going “gluten-free by choice.” I'm not going to lie, I tried too, and it did not go as planned. There are actually a lot of risks of being gluten-free that no one knows about.
Mean Girls (and countless other culturally influential movies) reinforce this behavior by bashing carbs. A lot of high profile celebrities swear by gluten-free diets, which both adds to their perceived popularity and amplifies the societal hatred towards carbohydrates. There are a lot of reasons I would tell you to be careful about going gluten-free.
Make sure you're doing it for the right reasons, and that you know what you're doing.
Being healthy is good, and diets can help you towards reaching your goals. With that said, fad diets are not always good. While I was gluten-free, I felt lethargic, bloated, and grumpy. I thought that would go away with time, but it only got worse. As it turns out, recent research has shown that a gluten-free diet is actually less healthy for you than a normal, healthy, diet. It may have adverse health effects and actually lead to an increase in fat gain.
Watch out for unhealthy gluten-free substitutes.
The gluten substitutes in gluten-free products (like breads and crackers) can actually be worse for you than the original products. These replacements include rice flour, potato flour, cornstarch, and tapioca starch, which all have higher sugar content than wheat flour. These replacements are known as "junk carbs" that can make you gain weight. These wildly expensive healthy-looking boxes labeled “gluten-free” are just a marketing tactic. They are very temping, but don’t fall into the trap.
Be wary of the negative health effects of cutting out gluten from your diet.
There is also research on this that suggests that gluten is an important part of the diet that can not be replaced in people who are not diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Whole grains such as wheat, barley and rye, which all contain gluten, are health promoting and have been linked to a reduced risk of coronary heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity and other chronic diseases.
How can something that reduces the likelihood of obesity be detrimental to our health? If you don't have celiac disease, it's just not.
The bottom line is just to be healthy. Life is short; have some carbs.