It’s growing in popularity and prevalence, but what does it mean to go gluten free? Nutritionist and founder of Embrace Nutrition, Rebecca Saady, explains!
A gluten free diet has become a popular trend in recent months with products lining the shelves in supermarkets, but most people are still in the dark when it comes to a gluten free diet. Enter moi!
What is gluten?
Gluten is a special type of protein that is found in foods such as cereals, certain grains, and wheat. One of the main purposes of gluten is to keep the elasticity intact in foods during the fermentation phase of food production. Gluten makes bread “chewy,” and prevents other foods from having a sticky, dough like texture.
Why has going gluten free become so popular?
With recent increases in people being diagnosed with Coeliac disease and gluten sensitivity, the idea of a gluten free diet has been researched from all sides of the nutritional spectrum, including weight loss specialists, and dietitians.
A gluten-free diet can have a variety of health benefits, such as improving cholesterol levels, promoting digestive health, and increasing energy levels if you have a gluten intolerance.
On a gluten free diet you would be likely to eat more fruits and vegetables because they are several food sources that are non-starchy, and almost completely gluten-free.
By eating only gluten free foods, you will also be eliminating unhealthy oils from your diet, as well as unhealthy carbohydrates found in bread products like doughnuts and pastries.
What are the benefits of going gluten free?
Humans don’t fully digest wheat: The undigested portions of wheat begin to ferment, producing gas.
Wheat is a pro-inflammatory agent: A pro inflammatory agent is quickly converted to sugar, causing a rise in the body’s insulin levels, causing a burst of inflammation at a cellular level.
Wheat can cause leaky gut syndrome: Leaky gut syndrome is a condition where toxins are leaking from your gut into your bloodstream.
Refined wheat has little nutritional value: Did you know that manufacturers actually have to enrich refined wheat because they’ve taken out all the nutrients? And even then, the wheat is not that valuable.
Wheat is one of the top allergens: Millions of people are allergic to wheat, so many in fact that it has made it onto the top-eight allergen list.
Many people have gluten sensitivity or Coeliac disease, and don’t know it: So, how many people fall into this category? No one knows exactly. But one in 100 people has coeliac disease, but most don’t know it. No one knows how many people have gluten sensitivity, but estimates are that it may be as high as 50-70 percent of the population.
What are the downsides of a gluten free diet?
Giving up gluten can be dangerous if you’re not careful about replacing the nutrients you lose by giving up grains: Some gluten free foods are fortified with extra vitamins and nutrients.
People who think they might have a gluten sensitivity should consult a doctor to rule out other intestinal disorders such as Crohn’s disease: It might not even be the lack of gluten in gluten free diets that makes some people feel better, but what they eat to replace it. Anyone who removes biscuits and sweets from our diets and replace them with fruits and vegetables is of course going to feel better.
It can be expensive: Food that is labeled as gluten free is usually more expensive than gluten foods. Cutting gluten out of your diet won’t cut the price on your shopping bill.
You could actually put on weight: Many people on a gluten free diet are eating that way in order to lose weight because a celebrity uses it as a weight loss technique. However, gluten free dieting can actually cause you to gain weight. A gluten free diet alone won’t help you lose weight at all, even though many people believe that will happen. In fact, as your body will be forgoing carbohydrates and other healthy things found in gluten it can lead to weight gain, headaches, and other issues.
Don’t Believe The Hype!
Much hype has been placed around a gluten free diet for everyday people. People say that it increases your energy levels, helps you lose weight, and can make you healthy. In the end, a gluten free diet can have the exact opposite effects on your body, especially if you use the diet for a prolonged amount of time. In my opinion, you should stay away from a gluten free diet unless you have a medically proven reason for trying it. Yes you can cut it down but do not cut it out completely.
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