Should You Go Gluten-Free?

June 24, 2014

First there was fat-free, then sugar-free, and now, we’re in the age of the gluten-free craze. It seems like there’s a hot new health fad everyday (can I say Shakeology?), so it can be hard to determine what’s a trend and what may actually be good for you.


It turns out that some gluten-free foods have less of the good and more of the bad, like less iron, B vitamins and amino acids and more calories or carbs. For example, gluten-free pasta has more carbs and less fiber, potassium and protein than whole-wheat pasta. Just because a label is emblazoned with the word “FREE” doesn’t mean it’s necessarily any healthier. Take potato chips, which are technically gluten-free.


So who should be eating gluten-free? The three million Americans who suffer from Celiac disease. Removing gluten may also be helpful for those with other conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome.


If you don’t have specific dietary needs, eating a gluten-free meal here and there won’t do any harm. But if you steer clear of gluten for a prolonged period of time, you could suffer nutrient deficits down the line.


Bottom line, if you don’t have a health condition for which your doctor encourages you to go gluten-free, don’t do it. As dancers we’re constantly pushing our bodies to the limits, so we need a diet full of vitamins, nutrients and fiber.