Is Gluten Free Diet Healthy?

Is Gluten Free Diet Healthy?

Gluten free diet can only be a good option when you have a celiac disease. Gluten is actually a very important nutrient; a combination of double proteins in most cereal grains. Many people (especially women) believe that gluten is the same as carbs, and that it makes them gain excess weight when consumed in either small or large quantities, so they stay away from meals with gluten.

Gluten Free Diet

Foods like pasta, noodles, crackers, beers, baked goods, cereals, and pastries are very rich in gluten as it helps them retain their shape. Some cosmetic and stationery products also employ the use of gluten.

Unfortunately, some people cannot eat gluten because of health reasons. They are people with gluten related disorders such as celiac disease, wheat allergy, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and gluten ataxia. These disorders are auto-immune and cannot be cured, hence the carrier has to stay away from gluten and maintain a gluten free diet.

What to avoid when trying Gluten free diet?

Anyone with a gluten related disorder has to avoid meals made from these cereals: wheat, rye, barley, oat, malt, triticale, and other related wheat species. Some unlikely meals made from these products are:

  • Soups
  • Sauce mixes
  • Beer
  • Wheat desserts
  • Processed meat
  • Brown-rice meals
  • Pizza
  • Malt meals: malt milk shake, malt loaf, malt beer, brewer’s yeast, etc.
  • Soy sauce
  • Some candies

Remember to always read the label to know the ingredients of whatever processed food you are about to ingest; some contain gluten in them. Also, to be on the safe side, do away with oats because oat has a very minute quantity of gluten in it.

How to Replace Gluten in Your Diet

Gluten is a protein complex and it is very essential in the nutritional make-up of the body, but a combination of some naturally occurring proteins can cover for it. The foods include:

Gluten free food
  • dairy products (when you are not lactose intolerant)
  • fresh eggs
  • fresh meat
  • fresh fish
  • poultry
  • nuts
  • tapioca
  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • white rice

Dangers of Gluten

For people with gluten related disorders, consumption of gluten will cause the following:

  • gastrointestinal disorders- constipation, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and flatulence
  • anemia
  • weight loss and stunted growth
  • other health complications due to continuous consumption
  • hives, rashes, and itching due to allergic reactions
  • Fatigue and persistent headache.

Other People That Can’t Eat Gluten

  • People with Autism: People with autism are at the risk of developing igG antigladin antibodies which reacts negatively with gluten. Though it is not always present in all individuals with autism, but it is better to be safe than sorry.
  • Schizophrenics: People with schizophrenia might possess the same antibodies that trigger celiac disease, so avoiding gluten might save them a lifetime of health complications.
  • Epileptic Individuals: After a research, 1 of every 15 epileptic individual tested positive to celiac disease. So, they have been advised to stay away from all gluten products.

Some Health Benefits of Gluten

When you don’t have celiac disease or other gluten related disorder, your body will need gluten. Some blogs, books, and posts will tell you that gluten is bad for your health even when you don’t have the disease- this is very untrue. Studies has shown that the protein complex of meals with gluten will do the following for your health:

Lower the risk of getting type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body is resistant to insulin, or when the pancreas cannot produce the required level of insulin needed in the body. Gluten is a protein substance that is insulin-friendly and helps the pancreas with insulin production.

Reduces heavy metal poisoning

Rice and fish are examples of foods with a high concentration of heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, and cadmium. Gluten fights and disposes the toxicity of these metals in the body.

It is good for the heart

Whole grains containing gluten certainly works well with the cardiovascular system.

It has minimal calories

Gluten taken in minimal quantities gives the body just the right amount of calories, especially when taken whole and unprocessed.

Risks Involved in Avoiding Gluten

  • It can lead to the deficiency of these nutrients: iron, Vitamin B complex, calcium, and folate. All these are essential nutrients because they prevent diseases such as scurvy, rickets, and osteoporosis.
  • It also leads to fiber deficiency. Fiber is important in the body because it aids digestion, and it produces macro nutrients.
  • People who avoid gluten tend to be weaker than their gluten eating counterparts, because gluten gives energy to the body.

Is gluten free diet healthy? Yes- when you’re gluten intolerant. No- when you’re not. Don’t miss out on a balanced diet because you want to follow a trend. Gluten doesn’t make you gain weight excessively, it does not poison the body system, it is very necessary and should not be avoided unless your body is rejecting it.

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Author: Ahaana Sahay