It may sound healthy, but a gluten-free diet isn’t a good idea if you don’t have celiac disease. (This is an autoimmune disorder in which gluten’a protein found in wheat, barley and rye’does damage to the lining of the small intestine. Those with celiac disease typically need to avoid gluten.) In a small study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, healthy adults who ate a gluten-free diet for a month had a dramatic drop in protective gut bacteria and immunity-boosting chemicals. Low levels of certain gut-friendly bacteria may lead to digestive issues, diarrhea and other problems.
For those who do need to be on gluten-free diets, good news: Health Canada is considering revising food-labelling regulations so oat products that are not produced with, and/or processed with, wheat, barley or rye can be promoted as ‘gluten free.’
And remember: It’s important not to self-diagnose celiac disease; be sure to talk to your doctor before making any major changes to your diet.