The science behind the gluten-free diet

Mar 12, 2023, 3:00 PM | Updated: Sep 5, 2023, 3:44 pm




SALT LAKE CITY – Have you ever wondered what going gluten-free is really like?

In the latest Let’s Get Moving with Maria podcast episode, host Maria Shilaos spoke with Utah State University Extension Assistant Professors Cindy Jenkins and Eva Timothy about the science behind the gluten-free diet.

Why is the gluten-free diet so popular?

Jenkins thinks part of the reason is because people automatically think it’s healthy since it’s different from what they normally eat. However, that doesn’t mean it’s better for you.

“When you’re eating a gluten-free diet… they’re still normal carbs and it’s really not healthier for you,” Jenkins said.

A gluten-free diet is eliminating the gluten substance not just from your food, but also from your cosmetics and self-care products like lotion and conditioner.

“Generally, it’s related to celiacs disease or non-celiacs gluten sensitivity. So for those people, they have to take out all gluten-containing items from their diet,” Timothy said.

“If you don’t need to eat gluten-free but you are… you may be eating a less healthy diet for you,” Jenkins said.

It takes time to completely eliminate gluten from your diet because you need to figure out all the different places where gluten could be in before finding alternatives.

So where do you start?

Timothy says you can start by looking at your own pantry. You can go find gluten-free flour, pancake mixes, cereals, etc.

“There’s always a label. That ‘GF’ is always going to be on your definite gluten-free items. You know those are safe,” Timothy said.

Some other things that are generally safe to eat are nuts, corn tortillas, tortilla chips, rice, beans, fresh fruits and vegetables, and natural spices. Just make sure that you’re looking at those labels and double-checking that they’re fresh and all-natural.

Listen to the full episode below to hear the rest!

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The science behind the gluten-free diet