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About 30% of adults in the U.S. are dabbling with a gluten free diet these days. Yet, there are still a lot of misconceptions about what it means for your health and diet. Obviously, if you have been diagnosed with celiac disease, then removing gluten from your diet is vital to your health, but what about the rest of us?

The Rise of the Gluten Free Lifestyle

Before you make major changes to your diet, like cutting out wheat and grains, talk to your doctor and your nutritionist.

Before you make major changes to your diet, like cutting out wheat and grains, talk to your doctor and your nutritionist.

First of all, gluten intolerance or celiac disease is a real issue for 1 in 133 Americans. Celiac is inherited and causes damage to the small intestine when the person ingests wheat products. Wheat contains gluten and induces an allergic response in the person leading to possible skin, respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms. If you have been diagnosed with celiac disease, a gluten free diet is definitely the way to go.

Some people may display similar symptoms to those mentioned above, but do not have a diagnosis of celiac. This is referred to as “non-celiac gluten sensitivity” and has yet to be completely understood by doctors. If you feel you have sensitivity towards gluten, talk to your doctor about it. A gluten free diet may help you, but do not automatically assume that it is wheat that’s making your feel ill just because it’s popular to blame wheat at the moment.

Don’t be too quick to judge gluten

Some whole grain bread options may be healthier for you than the gluten free alternative. Make educated choices about the things that you eat. Don't just go with the latest "health" trend.

Some whole grain bread options may be healthier for you than the gluten free alternative. Make educated choices about the things that you eat. Don’t just go with the latest “health” trend.

Just because you are feeling a little sluggish, or you’ve put on a few pounds doesn’t mean you are gluten intolerant all of a sudden. There is a common misconception amongst those treating gluten free as the latest diet fad, that going gluten free is somehow healthier. It is not. A piece of gluten free bread is no more healthy than that piece of whole grain wheat bread you just set aside. It is more expensive, but in this case expensive doesn’t always mean better. In fact, by eating gluten free products you could be consuming more sugar and fat than you think, causing you to gain weight.

Replacing your refined carbs (pasta, bagels, crackers) with whole grain alternatives is more likely to help you lose weight than replacing them with their gluten free alternatives. Being more aware of what you are eating and consciously choosing the whole grain options will automatically reduce your carbs, cuts out processed foods and add more fiber and nutrients to you diet. This leads to more energy and better moods and possible weight loss. The gluten free alternative will cut out the gluten, but will add sugar and fat and before you know it, you’ve packed on a few pounds. This is not true of all gluten free products, but it is important to know what you are eating, and not just assuming that because the whole world seems to be going gluten free it is healthy.

Project Rise has nutritionist on staff in Denver and Stapleton

Trainer Christine van Diest

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Photo: Project Rise Fitness trainer Christine van Diets.

If you’re looking to improve your health and your life, talk to our nutritionists. If you know that you have celiac disease, we can help you with the right diet so that you are getting all the vitamins and nutrients you need and not just packing on sugar and fat from the gluten free products. And for those of you who are just doing this because it is trendy, be smart about your gluten free options. We’re not saying don’t do it, we’re just saying that you need to be aware of the pitfalls. As with any major dietary changes, make sure you do your research and always consult your doctor.

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If you’re really serious about improving your life or you have a specific goal in terms of achievements in sport, talk to our trainers about customizing a program for you at our box. We believe in diverse, personalized, high intensity full body training. We’ll help you set goals and accomplish them. Sign up for Project Rise Fitness in Denver or Stapleton today.