Should I go gluten-free?
Following a gluten-free diet may not be beneficial
Changing your diet to be gluten-free has never been easier. Not only are the aisles in supermarkets dedicated to gluten-free foods but restaurants are now starting to offer gluten-free menus too. It has become the new craze for both the health conscious and weight loss crowds alike.
Going gluten-free isn’t all that it’s hyped up to be and while it’s necessary for some people (such as those with diseases), cutting gluten out of your diet isn’t always the best choice to make.
What gluten is?
The term gluten originates from the Latin equivalent that means “glue”. Just as this translation implies, gluten is the ingredient that causes foods to be sticky and chewy (e.g. cookies, baked goods, bread, etc.).
Gluten is produced by combining two different proteins and contrary to what most people believe, you can find gluten in other products aside from wheat-based foods such as cereals or oats.
Now, cereals and bread aren’t notorious for causing health issues or being bad for you, so what has caused people to cut gluten out from their diet completely?
Some people don’t have a say in whether or not they can eat foods that contain gluten. The most common example is CD, otherwise known as Celiac Disease. Contrary to popular belief, this disease goes much further than a simple gluten intolerance. In fact, CD is considered an autoimmune disease which triggers your bodies defence system to wrongly attack the lining of your stomach instead of the proteins which are in gluten.
This typically occurs after someone with CD consumes gluten and as a result, they will experience inflammation, stomach pains, or a range of different gastric problems. If this condition doesn’t get treated appropriately, the intestinal wall can become very badly damaged which will impact how nutrients are being absorbed into your system.
On top of that, the GI (gastrointestinal) tract will be more likely to absorb undigested proteins as well as toxins which as a result, will allow them to seep into their bloodstream. This can lead to even worse health issues and if CD is left untreated, symptoms such as weight loss, malnutrition, and in some cases, osteoporosis, will begin to show.
The only treatment which is currently available for CD is a gluten-free diet and it must be followed very strictly. If there is any internal damage done to the intestinal tract and it is given time to heal, those with CD are able to live a relatively normal life without experiencing any other symptoms.
While not as worrying as CD, gluten sensitivity is a similar health issue and can show symptoms such as abdominal pains and bloating. While these symptoms show, unlike CD, there is no autoimmune reaction which means that the intestinal wall won’t be damaged and will continue to function correctly.
Even though gluten sensitivity isn’t as severe as the likes of CD, it still has to be managed appropriately and can affect the quality of life if it isn’t managed as instructed.
Having long-term digestive dysfunction as well as having gut bacteria imbalances, for example, are shown to be linked with mood swings and mental health issues as a result of the gut-brain axis. While it differs for each person with gluten sensitivity, in some cases it isn’t necessary for gluten to be completely eliminated from a diet.
What advantages are there to going gluten-free?
Given that so many people obsess over gluten-free diets and how they can help you to become a healthy person, as well as lose some weight along the way, you’re probably curious about what benefits or advantages there are to going gluten-free.
First, there are a lot of claims that by eliminating gluten from your diet you make healthier eating choices. For example, switching processed carbs with alternatives like fruits, vegetables, or brown rice can help you to reduce your calorie intake.
Furthermore, after you make your diet gluten-free, you will become more aware of food labels and the nutritional information that is printed on those labels. This will help to make you more aware of what you’re eating, and you’ll also learn a lot of useful nutritional information. All in all, going gluten-free is beneficial in the long run and as a result, will help you to maintain a healthy weight and live a much healthier life.
If you would like to find out if you or your child has a gluten allergy you can do it by taking our DNA child test. That test can be done by adult as well.