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Gluten-free diets become top trend in 2014: How to reap fitness benefits

Trying to find gluten-free foods? It's become easier.
Trying to find gluten-free foods? It's become easier.
Photo by Salah Malkawi/Getty Images

A decade ago, few people know what "gluten-free" meant. But in a new survey, nutrition experts predict that gluten-free diets will reign as the top diet trend in 2014, reported KSAT on March 14.

Conducted by Today's Dietitian magazine, the survey asked more than 500 dietitians to cast their predictions for various diet trends. And although gluten-free diets used to be limited to individuals with celiac disease, now many dieters are choosing to ban wheat and other grains containing gluten for reasons ranging from weight loss to brain health.

What's the connection between going gluten-free and weight loss? When dieters ban wheat-heavy foods such as bread, cookies, cake and pasta, they are cutting carbohydrates and calories.

"Generally they have adopted a healthier lifestyle," said Dr. Amit Bahn, a gastroenterologist at Henry Ford Hospital. "If you look at foods that are gluten-free: fruits, vegetables, lean protein, fish, nuts, and even some grains, they tend to be low in carbohydrates, low calories."

In addition to weight loss, eliminating gluten is linked to benefits ranging from a reduced risk of diabetes to protection from Alzheimer's disease, says neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter, author of "Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar--Your Brain's Silent Killers" (click for details).

Dr. Perlmutter contends that a gluten-free low carb Paleo-style diet benefits everyone when compared to the standard American diet (SAD) of whole grains and processed foods. The reason: SAD foods do not satisfy the needs of our genetic composition, he says.

And Dr. William Davis, cardiologist, agrees, documenting the reasons for giving up wheat in his book "Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health" (click for details).

In a recent blog, Dr. Davis noted that our Paleolithic ancestors never ate grains. Instead, it was not until the agricultural age that grains became part of our diets, in part due to the USDA grain-heavy food pyramid.

If it often seems that there are SO many problems with wheat and grains, well, that’s because they never belonged in the human diet in the first place.

Yes, we have committed a 10,000-year long mistake that began in desperation when we ran low on real foods, turning to the wild fields of grasses and harvesting their seeds. The food of desperation is now the food celebrated by all official agencies.

Learn more about what experts advise regarding grain-free Paleo diets by clicking here.