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This is one of those topics that seems to be super popular these days. There are so many different packaged foods that say “gluten free”, and you’ll often hear a friend or co-worker talk about how they’re avoiding gluten for whatever reason. The question is: should YOU go gluten free?

Let’s discuss this, first and foremost.. what exactly IS gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in some grains, especially wheat. Gluten adds elasticity to dough. It makes bagels and breads chewy, pizza dough stretchy, and pasta noodles elastic so that they can be pulled through the pasta press without breaking when they are made. Thus, getting a desirable texture in gluten free baked goods can be difficult.

So what is the issue with gluten? Besides the fact that chewy, doughy, stretchy, elastic foods aren’t really “natural”, according to our friends at Precision Nutrition, gluten intolerance is the most common food sensitivity disease of the intestine. It affects about 15% of the US population, although since many people are undiagnosed, it may be even higher.

Cutting gluten out of your diet is definitely not a bad thing. Even if you don’t have a known sensitivity or issue, it can still have benefits such as better digestion, weight loss, less bloating, etc. The challenge with cutting out gluten just to lose weight, though, is that any type of “cutting out” of your diet or “avoiding it” can wreak havoc on some digestive systems when reintroducing it. It also, to put it plainly, gets old and boring when you completely cut something out just because! If you have Celiac’s Disease or an intolerance to it, obviously that’s a whole different story. Avoiding it doesn’t really become optional at that point!

The main issue is that some people make the mistake of thinking “this says gluten free, so it must be better for me!” More often than not, that isn’t the case. You see it all the time! It’s on ice cream cartons, cookie packages, crackers, pastas, breads, etc. Do NOT go “gluten free” to be healthier, only to buy into the pre-packaged, processed junk that has OTHER terrible ingredients for your body!

Last week, Coach Jillian at our Fayetteville location said something that I absolutely LOVED. Jillian is gluten free and when Kevin asked her “do you want us to get gluten free hamburger buns? Do you eat those?” She said something along the lines of “No, I just eat food that is food. Food that just naturally doesn’t have gluten in it”!

This is a great way to think! Just because it says it’s gluten free does NOT mean it’s better for you! The food industry is just taking advantage of something that’s super popular at the moment.

So, when it comes down to it, if you want to be gluten free, go for it! You may end up feeling much better and losing a little bit of body fat in the process. If you think you have an underlying issue, such as intestinal or digestive problems, definitely seek help from a medical professional. Like Coach Jillian said, when it comes down to it, just eat food that is FOOD! 🙂