What do celebs like Zooey Deschanel, Emmy Rossum, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Chelsea Clinton have in common? They all follow gluten-free diets, thanks to severe wheat allergies that, if left untreated, can result in bloating, diarrhea, fatigue, malnourishment and even infertility and osteoporosis.
“Going g-free” has been trendy for a few years now, with proponents claiming that ditching wheat can melt away pounds, elevate sports performance and evaporate mental fogginess. The industry has exploded, mushrooming 27 percent since 2009 and surpassing $6 billion in sales in 2011, according to Mintel research. “Gluten-free is the new low-carb,” says Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, RD, author of The SuperFoodsRx Diet (Rodale) and a nutrition advisor at Golden Door Fitness Resort and Spa in San Marcos, Calif. But unless you are one of the 1 percent of Americans who truly suffer from actual Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder where the body attacks itself in the presence of gluten – a protein component found in wheat, rye and barley – or the 5 to 8 percent who are gluten-intolerant, eradicating gluten from your diet will not help you lose weight or boost energy. In fact, “many gluten-free products are packed with sugar and fat,” Bazilian warns.
Read more, and grab some tasty gluten-free recipes, in my story on FitnessMagazine.com