Why You Should Opt For a Gluten-Free Diet?
GUEST POST BY EMYLEE JOHN.
Today, everyone is looking for a healthier diet option. People are moving to low-carb, keto diets, intermediate fasting, and various other diets to prevent and fight multiple chronic conditions. Among these varieties, a gluten-free diet is relatively high in prominence.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a cluster of proteins that is found in various food items. These proteins provide a structural formation of grains and help in maintaining their shape.
What problems can gluten cause?
In some people, gluten can cause a multitude of unpleasant symptoms after it is eaten, such as bloating, diarrhea, abdominal pain, poor concentration, excessive wind, general aches, tiredness, and pains.
Although dietary intolerance to gluten or wheat is common, finding the cause of these symptoms is essential to make sure there are no severe medical conditions present such as celiac disease.
Is switching to a gluten diet easy?
It might not be as easy as you thought because it is present in nearly all food items which we eat daily. Some of which can be listed as:
- Wheat or wheat-containing foods like bulgur, durum flour, Kamut, semolina and many more
- Baked goods
- Soy sauce
- Salad dressings
- Deli meats
- Fried foods
- French fries
Gluten-free food items:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Fish and eggs
- Dairy Products
- Nuts and seeds
The gluten-free foods were for a long time just confined to supermarkets or health stores, but now people are getting more aware of it and consuming it much more than before.
Why is Gluten-Free getting so much recognition?
Gluten is harmful to people who are suffering from celiac disease. It could trigger the immune system and disturb the functions of the gut.
Apart from this, people who are focusing on losing weight have also found it very useful. It enriches your gut, which helps you absorb all the nutrients more efficiently from your diet.
What about eating out?
Some restaurants now have gluten-free options, but these tips might make eating out ‘gluten-free’ easier.
Have realistic expectations. Not everything on the menu can be gluten-free.
Research well in advance if you know where you are heading to eat out. For example, look out if their menu is online, and if they don’t have gluten-free varieties listed, then call them to discuss your needs.
If you haven’t called ahead of time, tell the waiter you require gluten-free food as soon as you arrive and ask if they can cater for you. If they can’t, you may need to find another food joint.
Be prepared to spend more because providing gluten-free foods for their customers often costs food providers more.
If it doesn’t seem clear, don’t presume its gluten-free. For example, if the bread is served as an accompaniment to soup, then check that the bread is also gluten-free.
Exercise patience and common sense
Unexpected sources of gluten when you’re eating out can be stocks and sauces, chicken salt, icing sugar or dusting chocolate, soy milk, salad dressings, dusting or coating flour and oil used for other purposes such as frying foods with a batter that contains wheat flour.
Can anyone follow a gluten-free diet?
Most people think a gluten-free diet is a healthy alternative — but it’s not. Gluten-free food products often have higher fat or sugar content to make the food tastier and give them a better consistency.
A gluten-free diet is essential for people medically diagnosed with celiac disease. Others need to be very careful because a gluten-free diet can lack essential nutrients if it’s not balanced well.
Gluten itself doesn’t offer exclusive nutritional benefits, but the many whole grains that contain gluten do. They’re rich in an array of minerals and vitamins and such as folate, and iron, and B vitamins, and fiber.
You may miss out on these nutritional benefits if you follow a gluten-free diet and have not sought professional help from a dietitian to ensure your food is balanced.
Reasons to opt for a gluten-free diet:
There are many reasons someone might end up consuming food that contains gluten in it. Some of these can be:
Suffering from Celiac Disease: Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease. In this condition, even smaller quantities of gluten intake can cause significant damage to the gut and other organs. It can also harm the immune system.
If the gut is being repeatedly hurt, the small intestine will lose its ability to absorb vital nutrients. Lack of care in such conditions can also cause nutritional deficiency. These nutritional deficiencies can cause diseases like osteoporosis and iron deficiency anemia.
It might also cause infertility, extreme fatigue, lymphoma of the small intestine, or various neurological problems. But, if you do not have celiac disease, keep altering between your healthy diet and gluten-free diet, so you don’t suffer from any nutritional deficiencies.
Besides this, it might not be easy to opt to go on a gluten-free diet entirely. It can be quite an expensive affair and stressful too.
To reduce a few inches: If you want to shed those extra inches from your body and in a short duration, then adopting a gluten-free diet can be a good option. You might not directly lose weight because you are not taking gluten.
But, by choosing this, you choose a high amount of fruits and vegetables and fewer processed foods in your diet.
Gluten Sensitivity: It cannot be regarded as an autoimmune disease as celiac. It is instead an intolerance like lactose intolerance. People having gluten sensitivity cannot metabolize gluten.
If such individuals intake gluten, then they might face various gastrointestinal experiences like bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, and many more.
I gluten linked to other diseases:
Gluten can be linked to conditions like autism, dermatitis herpetiformis, epilepsy, and schizophrenia:
Autism: If a person has autism, they should avoid the intake of gluten, then the symptoms of autism can be controlled.
Epilepsy: Many people who have epilepsy are tested positive for celiac disease. So, people who are suffering from epilepsy should try to avoid the intake of gluten.
More benefits of going gluten-free are:
- Improves the digestive system
- Boosts the energy levels in the body
- Helps in eliminating unhealthy fat in the body
- Removes the bad cholesterol level of your body
- Prevents heart diseases
- Promotes the excretion process and helps in recovering from irritable bowel syndrome
- Increases the efficiency of your immune system
FDA Label For Gluten-Free Foods:
While searching for gluten-free foods, you might have encountered many brands label claiming to be gluten-free, but how many of these are true. Before August 2013, in the U.S., there were no rules or standards defined.
But, U.S. Food and Administration (FDA) gave some standard definitions of gluten-free food. So, all the packaging firms should follow the guidelines proposed by the FDA.
So, if your label reads as: free of gluten, gluten-free, no gluten or without gluten, then it must follow these criteria:
- It should not naturally contain any quantities of gluten, like a raw bag of carrot.
- The ingredients from which a product is made should not naturally contain any quantities of gluten.
- Do not contain any substance as an ingredient that is a whole or gluten-containing food item like wheat, rye, barley.
- The product should be made from a substance that its ingredients are processed to remove gluten.
- During the process of production, no cross-contamination should take place.
These are a few essential steps that were taken for the safety of people who are suffering because of the intake of gluten-free foods.
Risks associated with gluten-free diet:
A gluten-free diet is a healthy option. However, it can also have some side-effects. Below listed are a few:
Nutritional Deficiencies: When you opt for a gluten-free diet, you need to focus on eating a balanced diet. You might lack essential nutrients like iron, fiber, calcium, riboflavin, etc. To overcome this, you need to focus on foods that help you overcome these deficiencies.
Fiber: Most of the gluten-free products available in the market are deficient in fiber. To intake the proper amount of food, pick foods like beans, lentils, and so on.
Myths related to it:
Is a gluten-free diet good for losing weight?
Answer – By encouraging gluten-free, it might not directly contribute to weight loss. But a gluten diet is always rich in vegetables and fruits. Also, it will decrease the intake of processed food, which will cause weight loss.
Is a gluten-free diet healthier?
Answer – It depends on the altered food choices that a person makes when they leave gluten-free foods, as mentioned before.
Either directly or indirectly, a lot of factors are associated with a gluten-free diet. It might help you achieve a healthier lifestyle and help you achieve your health-related goals.
Emylee is a wellness lifestyle writer. She loves sharing her thoughts and personal experiences related to natural remedies, yoga and fitness through her writing. She currently writes for How To Cure. She can connect with others experiencing health concerns and help them through their recovery journeys through natural remedies.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of only gluten-free recipes or its staff.
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