Why I do not ridicule the gluten-free diet

by Hans Pinckaers

Tons of people swear by the gluten-free diet. Saying that gluten is bad for your health is ignorant, just as saying that it’s healthy. There are a ton of people who have undiagnosed celiac disease for which eating gluten results in pain and altered bowel movements and for which the gluten-free diet helps. Laurie Laforest wrote a good summary about the evidence behind gluten-free diets on the Science-Based Medicine blog. In short: there isn’t enough evidence yet that non-celiac gluten sensitivity exists, however, if you suffer from abdominal pain and your symptoms resolve with a gluten-free diet you should get tested for celiac disease.

People who do not suffer from condition for which glutens should be avoided, but who feel better not eating them, aren’t lying. Although it’s easy to ridicule these people, there is probably another reason why they feel better. Maybe their focus on food results in feeling good about what they eat, feeling in control. By complying to a gluten-free diet, you start thinking about what you actually put into yourself. By consciously deciding what to eat, they are reminded with every bite how healthy their lifestyle is. I can imagine that makes you feel better. I wish I had the discipline not to take that last piece of cheesecake and hate myself afterwards.