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Silly Misconceptions about Gluten
Gluten is one of those foods that people know next to nothing about, and yet they'll treat it like it's a bomb in a suitcase. People get all picky and say, "I don't eat gluten," but they have no idea that it's actually good for their health. Just because it has been demonized in the media, that doesn't mean you should automatically assume that it's something that will harm your body. Understanding it is the key to avoid being a total tool!
Here are a few misconceptions that people have about gluten. We're going to set you straight!
Gluten-free isn't going to lead to weight loss -- All you're doing when you cut out gluten is eliminate a simple protein that is found in a number of foods. You're not cutting out fat, and you're not cutting calories drastically. The only way you're going to lose weight is by doing the above two things, and cutting gluten will do nothing if you're not allergic or sensitive to it. The only reason to cut it out is because of a sensitivity to the nutrient, as it will cause serious health problems. If your body has no problem processing gluten, you're just wasting your effort and money on gluten-free products - which aren't necessarily healthier than regular products.
Gluten is only found in grains -- This is a silly misconception that people have, and you'd be amazed at the odd places where you can find gluten. You can get it from soy sauce, french fries, envelope glue, marinades, fake crab meat, malt flavoring, chocolates made outside of the U.S., and pretty much anything made with grain. Gluten is found in all kinds of things - not just food - so don't think that cutting out certain grains is going to do the trick. If you are allergic to gluten, you're going to have to get pretty extreme to avoid it. If you're just doing it because it's the "trendy" thing to do, you're still going to end up coming in contact with a lot of gluten - you just won't know it.
Gluten-free junk food isn't junk food. Yes, just because you're cutting out the gluten in your potato chips or snacks, you think that you're making super healthy snack choices. Don't be foolish! Just because there's no gluten, that doesn't mean these foods are free of MSG, artificial ingredients, trans fats (from being fried), and a whole lot of other harmful things! Junk food is junk food any way you cut it, and taking just one nutrient from the food doesn't suddenly make it healthy.
Gluten-free eating is the most important part of your diet. The truth is that cutting gluten out of your life only becomes important when you can celiac disease or non-celiac gluten intolerance. If you don't have either of those two disorders and your body has no problem processing gluten, it is the least important part of your diet. You will have no problems eating foods that contain gluten, and you can go on to focus on the rest of your diet. The whole purpose of dieting is to lose weight, eat right, and burn fat, so don't be so hung up on the "gluten-free" eating that you fail to actually eat the right foods.
Don't be just one more dupe that falls for the media hype about these things. Just because people tell you that going gluten-free is smart, that doesn't make it so. Think for yourself, and do your research. You'll find that there's almost nothing to worry about if you're not sensitive to gluten, and only those with real problems should actually cut gluten out of their lives altogether.