The Degree of Effectiveness of Gluten-Free Diets
A gluten-free diet is perhaps a necessity for the ones with celiac disease, but, there’s a substantial increase in demand for gluten-free products by the ones that aren’t celiac.
Gluten, a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye, etc. is a proven trigger of illnesses such as celiac disease. Some others may suffer from gluten sensitivity or allergy. And while individuals detected with such issues are advised to follow a gluten-free diet, there are many who are turning to this trend, hoping that it will aid them in weight loss, or among professional athletes, better performance.
There’s a lot of hype regarding the effectiveness of a gluten-free diet for the ones that don’t witness any allergic reaction when they consume gluten. Well, firstly, it’s important to understand why one needs to adhere to such a diet and is it fruitful in any way or not.
It’s advisable for people diagnosed with celiac or gluten allergy to go off gluten completely. It is the surest, most direct way to manage the disease. In the case of celiac, gluten ingestion impacts the small intestine. While it causes a painful rash in the case of Dermatitis Herpetiformis (DH). People diagnosed with DH may also be detected with intestinal cancer at some point. A gluten-free diet is crucial in such cases.
Apart from serious autoimmune diseases like the ones mentioned, there are also people who suffer from gluten sensitivity. Bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome are some of the symptoms of gluten intolerance. Staying off gluten-rich foods can improve the quality of life of those with gluten sensitivity.
Going Off Gluten
If going off gluten is advisable only to treat certain medical conditions, why is there an increase in the number of available products labeled ‘gluten-free’ in the market today? Why are more and more people advocating a gluten-free way of life? Maybe the next big trend!
There’s an insight suggesting that awareness about the celiac disease has led to a rise in people adopting gluten-free diets. Especially among relatives of those who are already diagnosed by it. The belief is that avoiding it completely keeps you protected from developing the disease.
Many who are choosing to stay away from gluten are doing so because it may aid weight loss. At the same time, those who have not been diagnosed with a medical condition or don’t need to lose weight claim that a gluten-free diet helps the gastrointestinal system by avoiding bloating, gas, etc. Some have even claimed that it helps them feel less tired.
Potential Risks of Going Gluten-Free in the Nonexistence of Celiac
According to several studies, people who avoided gluten diet were mostly the ones with lactose intolerance and irritable bowel syndrome. The majority of them avoided gluten because of family history, changes in bowel movement, and diarrhea.
The studies found that people who totally avoided gluten were at a higher risk of nutrients deficiencies. These include B vitamins, calcium, thiamine, minerals, and iron. Furthermore, a gluten-free diet also reduces the fiber intake and complex carbohydrates: all these crucial elements of a balanced meal are left out when one goes off wheat or other such grains that can lead to several other gut-related issues.
Interestingly, processed foods that claim to be gluten-free are often loaded with sugar and fat to compensate for the loss in taste. Both detrimental to your weight loss plan. And some studies also indicate that among those with celiac disease, a gluten-free diet may actually increase the weight.
It is strongly recommended that the ones that aren’t celiac should consider all the aspects associated with a gluten-free diet and consult their doctor before they say a complete no to gluten.
Striking a Balance
Instead of swinging to the extremes, it’s best to understand your body, assess the health issues, and then take a call regarding a gluten-free diet. In case you are gluten sensitive, by all means, stay away from it.
However, if you have no known medical conditions but still feel that a gluten-free diet will enhance the quality of your life, it is advisable to opt for a low gluten diet rather than a high-gluten or gluten-free approach. This way, you won’t deprive your body of essential fibers and still feel light and healthy. In fact, a low gluten diet is known to reduce gastrointestinal discomforts and aid small weight loss without compromising on your nutritional intake.
Depending on your lifestyle and health issues, the appropriate option must be chosen so that you can live the best version of yourself.