Imagine that an old high school friend of yours recently started sporting crazy neon wigs, push-up bras, and 8-inch heels to work-and within a year, she'd become a millionaire. Maybe you should try doing the same, right?
Okay, but what if the friend in question was Nicki Minaj, while you were, well, a hardworking ... accountant, paralegal, bus driver, or what have you. Chances are, the neon wigs and extra wiggle wouldn't exactly help in your place of business, right?
Something just like that is happening right now in the world of nutrition: the gluten-free craze. People who have a sensitivity to gluten-a protein found in cereal grains, especially wheat-have special needs (just like Nicki does), and eating gluten-free has a lot of benefits. But trying to copy that method when you're not, in fact, gluten-sensitive can have plenty of downsides.
Now, cutting down on gluten means cutting down on carbs, and that's generally a good thing. The fewer muffins, bagels, and breadsticks you're scarfing up, the healthier and leaner you're going to be-as long as you're replacing those carbs with nutritious foods like vegetables and lean meats. But as the number of gluten-free dieters has grown beyond those who simply can't digest gluten, we've also seen a spike in the number of foods marketed as "gluten free." Some of these foods are okay, but many others are simply new versions of the same old problems-essentially carb-loaded junk foods. They're the equivalent of wearing a pink beehive into a law office; can't help, probably hurts, maybe a lot.
So while the jury is still out on the effectiveness of gluten-free diets, one thing is certain: The six foods on this list aren't going to do you-or your belly-any favors. Banish them from your diet now and you'll have less nutritional closet-cleaning to do later.