— Written By Sarah Mammarella, MS, RD, LDN and last updated by Leeann Crump

America has become an “eat this, not that” society- which means that we so often hear people telling us that this or that is bad for our diet. We’ve been seeing these nutrition trends for decades now: the low-fat craze of the 1980s and 1990s, the Atkin’s diet spike of the early 2000s, and now we are hearing that gluten-free is the way to go in order to gain better nutritional health. With television shows like “The Doctors” and “Dr. Oz” claiming different health fixes it is hard for Americans to decipher what is good information and what is just rubbish.

As mentioned, gluten-free diets have become all the rage lately and even you may be thinking of going on a gluten-free diet for health or wellness. Before you do, let me give you a few things to think about:

• Gluten-free diets were originally designed for people with the autoimmune disease Celiac Disease and other gluten sensitivities, which is exacerbated by gluten in the diet.

• Gluten-free diets are often made with un-enriched, refined grains that are high in calories, high in fat, and low in vitamins and minerals.

• People sometimes claim that they feel better on a gluten-free diet. However, this may be due to reducing calories, not eliminating gluten.

• There is no research that suggests that gluten-free diets will help you lose weight or increase sports performance.

There are about 1 percent of Americans who live with Celiac Disease or other gluten sensitivities. If you feel as though you may have a gluten-sensitivity or Celiac Disease, see your doctor for appropriate tests. However, always remember to not believe everything that you hear about the newest nutrition trends. Be skeptical of TV doctors, social media spokespeople, or others who claim to have the magic ticket to feeling better and losing weight-as there is no magic pill that makes us drop pounds, only dedication to a healthy diet and physically active life. All people should also do their research on health claims. All health claims should be backed in solid research-unfortunately many are not.

For more information on nutrition, health, wellness, or weight loss contact Sarah Mammarella, MS, RD, LDN at the Richmond County Cooperative Extension Office at 910-997-8255 or sarah_mammarella@ncsu.edu.

Read more: Richmond County Daily Journal – Extension YourService Gluten free diets miracle or malarkey