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What to Eat

Nutrition: Should You Cut Gluten?

Nutrition: Should You Cut Gluten?

Gluten-free diets have been popularized by celebrities and diet books, but in general it is not necessary to cut gluten, the protein in wheat, barley, and rye, unless you have a documented gluten sensitivity or your health care team directs you to do so.

Don’t switch to gluten-free products if you think they are lower in carbohydrate. Often they contain more carbohydrate because sugar and other carb-containing ingredients replace wheat or other gluten-containing grains.

Likewise, don’t shun gluten to lose weight or gain energy. If it helps you to shed pounds or feel peppier, it’s likely not because you’ve given up gluten. It’s because you’ve given up extra calories by avoiding many breads, pastas, cookies, crackers, and other foods that contain gluten. Trading desserts and snack bars for fruits and vegetables will boost most anyone’s energy.

Finally, don’t choose gluten-free foods because you think they are more nutritious. Unlike regular breads, cereals, and pastas, most gluten-free varieties are not enriched with B vitamins and iron.