Another example of misguided celebrity diet advice hit the Twitter-verse Monday.
‘Everyone should try no gluten for a week,’ Miley Cyrus tweeted to her 5.5 million followers, ‘gluten is crapppp anyway!‘
Cyrus, dismissing eating disorder rumors, suggested that cutting gluten from her diet improved her skin, physical and mental health.
Gluten is a protein found in cereal grains such as wheat, rye and barley. According to the Canadian Celiac Association, it is estimated that that one in 133 Canadians is affected by celiac disease, where gluten triggers an inflammatory response in the small intestine.
What Cyrus failed to mention is that a gluten-free diet can be lacking in essential vitamins (A, D, E and K) and minerals such as calcium, iron and folate. Unfortified gluten-free products are usually highly processed and may substitute extra sugars and fats to make-up for the missing protein. Gluten is by no means ‘crap’, it has been in our diets since humans adopted agriculture more than 2,000 years ago.
Cyrus’ tweet also begs a second question, has gluten-free become the go-to ‘cure’ for physical and emotional ailments?
A study recently published in the Journal of Pediatrics has found that gluten avoidance is becoming more common. 7.4 percent of 579 participants aged 1-19 years avoided gluten even though they were not diagnosed with celiac disease. Gluten avoidance was due to behavioral and gastrointestinal complaints and family history of celiac disease.
Should we be taking diet advice from celebrities? And are we rushing to the ‘gluten-free’ conclusion?
‘Amy Crofts, web intern