Nutrition researcher counters gluten-free diet claims

A researcher says there’s no sound science indicating that a gluten-free diet will help otherwise healthy people lose weight.
Consumers buy gluten-free products because of the perception they are more healthful than products containing gluten, said Glenn Gaesser, director of the Healthy Lifestyles Research Center at Arizona State University in Phoenix.
But the research doesn’t support that perception, he found.
“There’s the lingering perception there that carbs are somehow bad, grains in particular,” he said. “Much of that is based on conjecture; it’s nonsense. It claims that wheat is the cause of all our problems, that it stimulates appetite, but that’s just not true.”
Gluten is a protein typically found in foods made from wheat, barley and rye.
Gaesser believes programs like William Davis’ “Wheat Belly” diet are lingering effects of low-carb diets promoted by authors in the 1990s and early 2000s. The market for gluten-free products is expected to reach $2.6 billion this year.
Judi Adams, president of the Wheat Foods Council, said the average per-capita consumption of wheat flour dropped from 133 pounds in 2010 to 131 pounds in 2011.
“It’s a huge drop,” she said. “We don’t want it to drop at all, we want to see an increase, and two pounds is very significant.”

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