In many cases, a gluten-free diet is prescribed by doctors and in others; it may be undergone for supposed benefit on health and fitness. In the United States, some Hollywood stars have spread the idea that a diet without food containing gluten is helpful for not gaining weight or for losing it.  According to a survey by the Nielsen Institute, in 2014 in the United States, consumption of products associated with celiac disease have increased by more than 16%. Is marketing more attentive to the needs of those who suffer from celiac disease or gluten sensitivity or is it “guilty” for this popular food?


The gluten-free diet was discussed in a scientific forum in Rome, on Gluten Free Day. During the discussion, the president of the Scientific Committee of the Italian Celiac Association of Lazio, Professor Italo De Vitis, reported a finding in which many people, just for the mere suspicion of being sensitive to gluten , eliminate foods that contain it from their diet. The specialist has invited anyone who has this suspicion to undergo diagnostic examinations necessary to detect any disorders, and most importantly, do so before eliminating gluten from their diet.


Gluten sensitivity affecting between 5 and 10% of the population

In addition to celiac disease, an autoimmune disease that affects 1% of Italians as reported by the same AIC,  gluten sensitivity has also been diagnosed with it. It is a less acute form of intolerance that according to Aigo, the Italian Association of gastroenterology and digestive endoscopy hospital, affects between 5 and 10% of the population. Gluten sensitivity has some symptoms similar to those of celiac disease, such as swelling, diarrhea, and drowsiness that disappear if you suspend the intake of gluten for 6-8 weeks. But to determine the most proper diagnosis, it is necessary to maintain gluten intake in the diet: eliminating foods containing gluten without any medical indications can in fact  prevent the practitioner for making a correct diagnosis.


What should individuals undergoing a gluten-free diet refrain from?

“A gluten-free diet can lead to deficiencies of micronutrients such as B vitamins, iron, magnesium, folic acid and the fibers that are present in bread and pasta are among the first products to be eliminated, “replies dott. Paoletta Preatoni, gastroenterologist and digestive endoscopist at Humanitas Hospital.


A gluten-free diet is a really good way to lose weight or to “detoxify”, as its supporters say?

“Although theoretically, a gluten free diet should lead to a drop in weight because it eliminates foods rich in carbohydrates such as pasta and bread, a cake without gluten is still in fact a cake. Preparations introduced in many other additives to make the product more palatable in the end turn out making it higher in calories.”