Pop singer Miley Cyrus is no stranger to fame; as the daughter of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus and starting her career as a pre-teen star on Disney Channel’s 'Hannah Montanna', Cyrus is a celebrity used to the spotlight. This week, however, the singer, songwriter, and actress has come under fire for tweeting what some are calling bad health advice.
After apparently losing a significant amount of weight over just a few weeks, rumors were flying that the 19-year-old celebrity was anorexic. In her defense, Cyrus tweeted that the weight loss was not due to an eating disorder, but a new gluten free diet – one that was necessary since she has a "gluten and lactose allergy."
What set nutritionists off was the fact that Cyrus went on to call gluten, a protein found in wheat, “crap,” and recommended that “Everyone should try no gluten for a week! The change in your skin, physical and mental health is amazing. You won't go back!"
According to US Weekly, Rachel Begun, a registered dietitian and food industry consultant, said that only those actually diagnosed with a gluten allergy should follow a gluten-free diet. It can actually cause individuals to gain weight, she said, if they rely too heavily on gluten-free processed foods that are high in fat or calories.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that another dietitian, Karen Ansel, said that there is no evidence a gluten-free diet will cause an individual to lose weight. Furthermore, she said, “following a gluten-free diet can result in a diet that's low in key nutrients.”
Today Health reports that while Cyrus is the one under fire right now, the promotion of gluten-free diets — specifically for the purpose of weight loss — are nothing new, with consumers being hit on all sides. As supermarket shelves are being lined with a horde of processed gluten-free foods, other celebrities are doing their part to promote the craze; "The View" co-host Elizabeth Hasselbeck, for example, pushes the diet in her book, "The G-Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide."
While Cyrus’ tweets go into no further detail, Dr. Elisa Zeid, R.D. of Today Health said, “For the rest of us, a healthful diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy and lean protein foods, limited added sugars and solid fats, and regular, consistent, enjoyable exercise seems to be the ticket — albeit not the trendiest one — to a healthier heart and a more toned, slim physique.”