Miley Cyrus's Gluten-Free Diet: Is It Good?

April 10, 2012 4:12 PM EDT
Miley Cyrus
Singer Miley Cyrus arrives at the Muhammad Ali's Celebrity Fight Night XVIII at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix, Arizona March 24, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)

Is gluten-free diet good or bad?

Miley Cyrus tweeted about the benefits of gluten-free diet saying, “For everyone calling me anorexic I have a gluten and lactose allergy. It’s not about weight it’s about health. Gluten is crappp anyway” on Monday. But Cyrus is not the only one who recently hopped on the gluten-free train. In recent years, avoiding gluten has become in vogue. The market research firm Packaged Facts projects the market for gluten-free foods and beverages will grow to more than 5 billion dollars in 2015.

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In fact, gluten-free diet has been used to treat celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that damages the lining of the small intestine, preventing it from absorbing nutrients important for staying healthy. "The View" co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck who is suffering from celiac disease sticks to a gluten-free diet and has published a cookbook, Deliciously G-Free.

People with gluten sensitivity sometimes experience stomachaches, gas, and diarrhea as well. Eating a gluten-free diet helps people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity control their signs and symptoms and prevent complications.

However, what is the benefit of gluten-free diet for most people? A gluten-free diet excludes the protein gluten which can be found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye and triticale, which means one should give up all the foods - such as french fries, pizza, cookies, and most cereals - they have been enjoying.

Rachel Begun, a registered dietitian living with celiac disease, recommends a gluten-free diet only for those who have been diagnosed by a physician to have celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity or another gluten-related disorder, saying that there is no evidence that a gluten-free diet promotes weight loss. Many gluten-free products on the market can be unhealthy, because manufacturers tend to add extra sugar and fat to simulate the texture and satisfying fluffiness that gluten imparts, and gluten-free products are less routinely fortified with iron, vitamins B and D than regular bread products.

If you decided to go on a gluten-free diet even though you do not have a gluten sensitivity, you run the risk of becoming deficient in certain nutrients, like iron, vitamin B and D, fiber, and calcium. However, if you still want to switch to a gluten-free diet, it is recommended to consume more fruits, vegetables, and lean meat, and gluten-free grains like rice, soy, buckwheat, quinoa, corn and cornmeal, rather than just purchasing prepackaged gluten-free products.


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