So the word’s out, and the low-fat, no-fat diets are crap. But as one diet is out, another makes its stance. The gluten-free diet isn’t very new, but many people have discovered the aftermath of consuming gluten. The no-gluten lifestyle has promised many things, with the main jewel for many consumers being weight loss. But with higher-priced products, a couple of inches isn’t the only thing people lose. Should you buy a ticket to get on the no-gluten bandwagon?

First of all, what is gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in breads, spaghettis, rice, oatmeal—think of any food comforting, warm and delicious and gluten is probably in it.  Gluten is in most carbs and grains if you didn’t catch that.

You know how some people are lactose intolerant because they don’t have the enzyme that breaks down the lactose sugar in milk? Some people are gluten intolerant. It’s harder to digest foods with gluten in it, and it often causes upset stomach, dizziness, fatigue, and even autoimmune diseases.

So you’re telling me that eating a piece of bread can make my immune system attack itself?

It’s because in glucose-intolerant people, the protein inhibits nutrients from being absorbed. In fact, it rips the lining of the small intestine. All the nutrients seriously spill out of your guts. Not a good luck.

And if nutrients aren’t being absorbed, that means food and all of its constituents (like germs and such) aren’t being absorbed either. You have foreign objects floating into your bloodstream and confusing your immune system into attacking itself.

What is celiac disease?

People that are warned to not eat gluten have a disorder called celiac disease. When gluten is consumed in people with celiac disease, the previous scenarios occurs.

Celiac disease normally doesn’t kill people, but it leads to other conditions such as Lupus, starvation, and vitamin deficiency, which can. In addition, according to celiac.org, celiac disease can double the risk of coronary artery disease.

What if I don’t have celiac disease?

You can still have a gluten sensitivity and not have celiac disease. In a study by BMC Biochemistry, gluten is found to increase our chances of obesity. But for background, leptin is a hormone secreted in the blood to moderate our appetite, and it’s received in the hypothalamus of the brain. Normally, when we lose fat, leptin levels fall so that we eat more. Vis versa, when there is more weight gained, the leptin levels increase to suppress our appetite.

People with a higher body weight tend to have more leptin circulating in their bloodstream and not being received. With so much leptin circulating, It’s as if your body is ignoring the message to stop feeling hungry. The leptin isn’t binding to its receptors in the hypothalamus. This is the basis of leptin resistance. According to the research, leptin resistance is considered a risk factor for obesity.

It was hypothesized that cereal proteins (which are derived from gluten) cause leptin resistance. It’s because cereal grain proteins have the ability to bind to the surfaces and receptors of cells. So the proteins can block the leptin from ever being received.  And the BMC study supported that the gluten can inhibit a secure binding of the leptin and its receptors.

So, should I stop eating gluten?

According to the NIH, no you shouldn’t. If you don’t have celiac disease or if you don’t have a gluten sensitivity, the effects of gluten won’t affect you as much.

Several gluten-free brands are a gimmick to sell overpriced and nutrient-lacking products to unknowing customers.  Once again, it is not recommended.

So if you’re not suffering from celiac, eat your whole wheat bread and rice. Remember, when it comes to dieting, always do your research. There are plenty of other ways to lose weight that don’t involve putting your health on the line.