11 “Healthy” Things That Are Actually a Waste of Time

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Cutting out gluten

Cutting out gluten

There’s no reason everyone in the general public needs to give up gluten, says Alessio Fasano, director of the Center for Celiac Research at Massachusetts General Hospital. Our bodies don’t totally digest the protein, but that’s only a problem for people with celiac disease, a wheat allergy, or gluten sensitivity (if such a thing exists). A doctor can diagnose celiac and wheat allergy with tests. For those who think they're gluten sensitive, the signs — stomach pain, lots of gas, irregular bowel movements, headache, joint pain, chronic fatigue — are much more common in the general population than gluten sensitivity is. So it’s more likely something else is causing them. You can only find out for sure if gluten is your problem if you go to a doctor and get checked out before you go gluten free.

As for the idea that a gluten-free diet can help with weight loss and health, any results are more likely coming from avoiding caloric stuff like bread, packaged snacks, and beer. Of course you’ll feel better if you stop eating junk food, but that’s not because of gluten. “There is clearly a fad component of the diet,” Fasano says.

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