Miley Cyrus may have encouraged her fans on Twitter to try a gluten-free diet, but nutritional experts claim she should not be promoting gluten-free diets because many of her fans may not have been diagnosed with a gluten-related disorder.
On Sunday, the "Can't Be Tamed" singer denied rumors she's battling anorexia and seemed to explain her recent weight loss as a result of a food allergy.
"For everyone calling me anorexic, I have a gluten and lactose allergy," the 19-year-old actress tweeted. A gluten-free diet excludes foods containing gluten, a protein found in wheat. "It's not about weight -- it's about health. Gluten is crap anyway!"
Cyrus then told one fan: "Everyone should try no gluten for a week! The change in your skin, physical and mental health is amazing. You won't go back!"Rachel Begun, a registered dietitian and food industry consultant, told Today's Health that only those who have been diagnosed with a gluten-related disorder should go on a gluten-free diet.
In fact, Begun said "People who go gluten-free may gain weight if they rely mostly on highly-processed gluten free foods, many of which tend to be higher in fat, calories and sugar than their gluten-containing counterparts."Karen Ansel, also a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, agreed.
"There's absolutely no evidence that a gluten-free diet promotes weight loss," Ansel explained. "However, there is data that indicates that following a gluten-free diet can result in a diet that's low in key nutrients -- especially iron, zinc and B vitamins such as folate and niacin."