Going gluten-free is a huge trend right now with tons of gluten-free products on the market and numerous celebrities trying it. While gluten insensitivity does seem to be on the rise with an estimated 20 million sufferers, the National Institutes of Health report that 3 million Americans have celiac disease. But is going gluten-free really necessary? And is it good for overall health or is it just a way to lose weight because it’s such a restrictive diet?
We recently spoke to Jasmine Jafferali, MPH, ACE-CPT, Lifestyle and Wellness Consultant Specializing in Gluten Free Living and Women’s Health, and Co-Manager for Gluten Intolerance Group of Greater Chicago about the pros and cons of this new way of eating. She says that while going gluten-free is costly and can have quite the learning curve (gluten is in so many things!), the benefits are enormous including finding relief from the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, rhuematoid arthritis, chronic fatigue, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome and even infertility. Not to mention that eating a diet without gluten in it can be incredibly nutritious in that most gluten-free foods are nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables and proteins.
“One must become an avid label reader, especially if they get sick the moment they ingest gluten,” Jafferali says. “I find those who follow a gluten-free diet just feel better in general, but it is not for everyone. However, I do encourage people to eat more gluten free grains as they do provide some excellent nutritional values.”
Jafferali isn’t surprised that many celebrities are on the gluten-free bandwagon. And she believes that many celebs are on this special diet for health reasons, not to mention that they have the resources that make going gluten-free easier.
“There are more than 300 symptoms that can make us feel ill and tired when eating a whole-wheat diet,” she says. “Many of these symptoms are relieved when going off of gluten, and I am sure they are feeling the positive effects of going gluten free. They are educated, have access to the top trainers, chefs and nutritionists who most likely cook and follow a gluten-free diet.”
So exactly what celebs are gluten-free? Here are five who swear by a gluten-free diet for health and staying at a healthy weight!
1. Victoria Beckham. Former Posh Spice eats a gluten-free diet, with reports claiming that she’s allergic to dairy, which is often linked to gluten sensitivity.
2. Keith Olbermann. The Countdown host suffers from celiac disease, and doesn’t go gluten-free for weight loss but for his overall health!
3. Gwyneth Paltrow. Known for having a highly restricted diet, Gwyenth promotes going gluten-free for overall health and weight loss on her GOOP website — although she’s said to not be gluten sensitive.
4. Jenny McCarthy. Jenny McCarthy has been quite vocal about cutting gluten out of her diet and her autistic son Evan’s diet, too. In fact, she credits going gluten-free as an essential part of Evan’s recovery from autism.
5. Zooey Deschanel. Zooey is well known for not eating gluten. In fact, it was a few years ago that she appeared on Top Chef Masters, challenging the chefs on the show to create a meal for her that met her dietary needs, which at the time included being vegan. While no longer vegan today, she loves eating a gluten-free diet and eating foods like high-protein quinoa.
Are you gluten-free? Why or why not?