Wall Street Journal: Gluten-Free Good for Celiacs, Not Weight Loss

August 24, 2010

Wall Street Journal: Gluten-Free Good for Celiacs, Not Weight Loss

Article posits gluten-free as medical necessity, not diet fad.

Gluten-free has been labeled a “health craze,” but a new article in the Wall Street Journal is countering that assumption with an indepth look at the diet’s medical purpose.

The article, “Giving Up Gluten to Lose Weight? Not So Fast,” and an accompanying video, notes that the gluten-free diet is an essential treatment for celiac disease, but is not recommended for those who can tolerate gluten.

Gluten-related health issues can vary from celiac disease to wheat allergies to gluten sensitivity, each of which affect the body in different ways, according to Alessio Fasano, NFCA Medical Advisory Board member and celiac expert at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Fasano noted that more research needs to be done in testing and treatment for celiac disease.

While celiac disease has a genetic basis, environmental factors also play a role, according to Joseph Murray, NFCA Medical Advisory Board member and gastroenterologist at Mayo Clinic. “Human genes haven’t changed that much, so there has to be something pervasive in the environment that is making this disease more common,” he said.

Maintaining a gluten-free diet isn’t easy, the article noted, especially when food labels can be misleading. And contrary to other “fads,” gluten-free food often contains higher fat and less nutrition than traditional options.

For more information on the gluten-free lifestyle, visit our section on Gluten-Free Food and Recipes.