Gluten free diet – good or bad?
Nowadays gluten free food and gluten free diet are a new talk of the town among
What is Gluten?
Gluten is basically a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, triticale which helps with making an elastic texture of the dough. It is also commonly found in salad dressings, soups, soy sauce,
If Gluten should be avoided then by who and for what reason?
People with Celiac disease are sensitive to gluten. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that damages the lining of the small intestine and decreases the absorption of nutrients which we get from foods. There are some symptoms of this disease such as fatigue, diarrhea, stomach pain, gas, skin rashes, weight loss. This disease is not curable with the help of any medication and surgeries, therefore, it is necessary to follow a lifelong gluten free diet.
Lately, gluten free has become the new “health trend” and gained too much media attention because of weight management and boosting energy level claims by commercial food companies. Gluten free has become more popular among celebrities due to the commercialization of this trend by food companies.
Truth is unless you are suffering from celiac disease, there is no scientific evidence that gluten free diet promotes good health. Rather it increases the risk of many other health problems. Often gluten free food products are modified from natural gluten containing foods. These food products have added fats and sugar that leads to an increase in calories. And end up promoting weight gain rather than weight loss.
Risks related to consumption of gluten free food:
- Nutritional deficiencies – There is always a risk of many nutritional deficiencies because whole grain pasta and bread are generally fortified with essential nutrients such as iron, calcium and vitamin B. But these two types of food are available in the market with a gluten free label are generally not fortified with these important nutrients. Common deficiencies occur such as Calcium, Iron, Folate, Niacin (vitamin B3) and riboflavin (vitamin B2).
- Negatively affects the immune system – Some researches exhibit that gluten free diet causes reduction in beneficial guts bacteria (such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium) which has a negative impact and decreases the resiliency of our immune system.
- Constipation – Like vegetables and fruits, whole grains are rich in fibers which contain gluten such as whole grain cereals and bread. Therefore people who follow gluten free diet generally eat
aninadequate amount of fibers which causes constipation.
- Cost- cost is the anther negative aspect about
gluten freediet. Gluten freefood and food products are more expensive than the product which contains gluten. Some studies show that the cost of gluten freefood is 242% more than the regular gluten containingfoods. Further processing of foods to remove gluten results in the additional cost. A gluten freeproduct has less variety and is not easily accessible in the grocery stores as gluten containingfood products. Some food companies market their food products with a label as “ gluten free”. For the innocent consumer world, they interpret the gluten freebranding as “healthy” and are attracted to buy.
What I believe…
I think the definition of healthy diet differs for every individual. Some people have different types of food allergies and food intolerances, so for them, some foods should be avoided. And for those who do not have any health conditions, a well-balanced diet is the only perfect key. For those who are suffering from celiac disease choosing more vegetables and fruits with gluten-free whole grains is considered a healthy lifestyle. While choosing gluten free processed food is certainly not. Therefore, appropriate support and education help you to choose well-balanced gluten free food. I think we all as consumers it is necessary to educate ourselves and get the required support from our healthcare professional before opting for or implementing any such “health trends” in our lifestyle.
Eat Healthy, Stay Healthy & Keep Smiling! 😊
Gluten free diet – good or bad?
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