The Effects of a Gluten-free Diet and Implications for the General Population


  • Bethany Abbotoy


It is hard to ignore the increasing popularity of the gluten-free diet (GFD); a survey taken by the NPD Group in 2013 stated that approximately one-third of Americans are cutting back on gluten consumption or are avoiding it all together.  Eliminating gluten-containing foods will ultimately eliminate a large portion of carbohydrates including whole grains.  Should the simple elimination of gluten from the diet cause concern for the development of nutritional deficiencies and negative health impacts?  The purpose of this paper is to examine the reasons for adopting a gluten-free diet (GFD), the effects of adherence to the gluten-free diet and the implications of those findings for the general population.  Two of the primary medical reasons that were found for adopting the GFD are celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity, both of which require a strict compliance to it as it is the only known treatment.  The examined studies concluded that gluten-free products are deficient or severely lacking in micronutrients like folate, niacin, and iron and can lead to weight gain. Gluten-free products have also been shown to be more expensive by as much as 240% and to have a lower availability than gluten-containing foods.  For those with gluten-related disorders, it is essential that the GFD be adhered to.  Registered dietitians and other health professionals need to educate clients on foods that will prevent nutritional deficiencies and consuming diets that are well balanced.  For the general population, it is not recommended that a GFD be implemented.





Human Ecology