One of the latest diet fads floating around online and in popular culture is the gluten-free diet. The Paleolithic diet is devoid of cereal grains, so it is free of gluten. The proponents of the Paleo diet and other gluten-free diets will tell you that gluten is a toxin and that everyone is at least mildly sensitive to it. They’ll even go so far as to say that most people are allergic to gluten. This is far from the truth, and it can actually hurt people who truly do have a gluten allergy. Pop culture dieting garners a lot of doubt and misgivings. Some people will experience some form of placebo effect. Others will ignore the symptoms of their sensitivities and allergies because what’s said in media and culture sounds so ridiculous to them.
Food allergies are nothing to mess around with. People with Coeliac Disease have an actual, serious allergic reaction to gluten, which is present in wheat and in a lot of places in our diets that we don’t even think about. Many people with peanut allergies have almost died, going into anaphylactic shock, when someone else didn’t believe that they were allergic and played a prank or did an “experiment” to prove them wrong.
The same happens with people with Coeliac Disease, which, like many allergies, has a range of severity. If you break out in a minor case of hives when you drink a hoppy beer or eat a sandwich, you most likely have a gluten sensitivity. This won’t kill you or hurt you terribly, but it is uncomfortable, and you can avoid it by drinking cider instead of beer or choosing a gluten-free bread for your sandwiches, or just avoiding sandwiches altogether. Some people, on the other hand, like with peanut allergies, will get severely ill if there is even a trace of gluten in a meal they eat.
Mixing dietary needs and allergies with mass media can range from ridiculous to incredibly dangerous. Remember when the Atkins diet was all the rage? Suddenly carbohydrates of any kind were bad. In that instance, you had a few people cut down on their carbohydrate intake and up their exercise. They subsequently saw a gain in their health and a loss in their waistlines. Others followed the diet and saw nothing more than some constipation and loss of water weight.
Marketing a diet that’s based entirely around a sensitivity or allergy that a select few people have makes no sense for the general population. Think about this the next time you look at a diet craze making the rounds. Is it based on our physiology, nutrition needs, and exercise? Well, if the answer is yes, it’s probably not a fad. That’s just called good nutrition. If the answer is no, ignore it. Eat healthy and keep exercising.
A healthy diet and nutrition are an important part of your wellbeing. Our dietitians and nutritionists are here to educate you and your family about healthy ways of living by helping you to reduce or maintain a healthy weight, control cholesterol levels and strategies for having a healthier, more balanced lifestyle. We also provide advice for food intolerances and allergies, Coeliac disease, diabetes and fussy eating (Paediatrics).
If you have questions about Food allergies or for a personalised meal plan, contact your local doctor who will arrange for you to see a dietitian in Sydney. Contact us today!