Trendy gluten-free diet not for everyone

Nov 25, 2013 | News

By Sarah Rea

A trendy new gluten-free diet has many Canadians claiming to be healthier and happier, but some experts are wary of the change.

Over 80 per cent of Canadians in a survey claimed to have more energy after reducing or completely eliminating gluten from their diets.

The Canadian Attitudes to Gluten-Free Study,  sponsored by gluten-free food distributor Udi’s Healthy Foods, surveyed 2,530 randomly selected Canadian and revealed British Columbians are most likely to have made the switch to gluten-free (17 per cent), followed by those in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta (12 per cent in each province).

But before you jump on board, Matt Bradbury, public speaker for life seminar “Eating Well 101” says, although a gluten-reduced diet can be very beneficial, it can also pose as a risk to health.

“It’s never a good idea to completely banish a food group from your daily diet routine unless your doc says you should,” Bradbury told Humber News. “In fact, decreasing your gluten intake or completely ridding it all together could cause many Canadians to be iron deficient, as well as lack healthy fiber, foliate, calcium, zinc and vitamin B12 levels,” all of which are essential to leading a healthy lifestyle.

Rice wraps, a healthy alternative thats gluten-free.

Rice wraps, one of the gluten-free alternatives recently becoming popular.

Emily Boggie, a mother of three, whose health demands she take on a gluten free lifestyle due to a wheat allergy says, there’s pros and cons to all restricted diets.

“Gluten-free products are expensive and completely removing them from my diet was a challenge, but cutting it out has also been extremely rewarding as well.”

Boggie claimed to be losing weight faster and having more energy to run around with her kids at times when she would have previously been exhausted. She also said her belly bloating went down and she had little, to no toilet troubles.

Colorado-based Udi’s Healthy Foods says in a company statement, “The most commonly reported health benefits identified by respondents who reduce gluten include improved gastrointestinal health (52 per cent), healthier weight (36 per cent), improved activity levels (32 per cent) and a better mood (31 per cent).”

According to WebMD, a well-known provider of health information services, before making drastic lifestyle changes with diet plans people should be evaluated for celiac disease or wheat allergies by a family physician or gastroenterologist. This may help uncover those with gluten sensitivity who would be better off taking up a diet plan such as this, as opposed to those with low vitamin and mineral levels who may be at risk on a gluten-free diet.