You may have seen fitness magazines and health experts preaching a gluten-free diet. As per them, it is a game-changer for your weight loss journey. And as someone who is on their weight-loss journey themselves, you may feel tempted to try it.
But just so you know, even a keto diet is very effective and can help you secure your desired results in no-time, but is it safe? Is it sustainable? Not really.
So, how about a gluten-free diet? Is it good for you? Should you embrace it? The questions are many.
Let’s get you the answers.
The term ‘gluten free diet’ can be a bit confusing to some people with their contradictory — and often unfounded — suggestions and rules. Most people mistakenly believe gluten-free foods as being a healthier choice.
The truth is that the nutritional plan isn’t a diet in the way that most people understand it – it’s not designed to help people lose weight. It’s just a dietary approach that supports the healing of your digestive system so that you can begin to absorb all the nutrients from your food.
This blogpost cuts through the noise to explain some basic facts about a gluten-free diet so that you have the knowledge you need to make a healthy eating plan.
What is a gluten-free diet?
A gluten-free diet strictly excludes any foods that contain gluten, which is a specific type of protein found primarily in wheat, barley, rye and a few other grains. Going gluten-free means avoiding these grains, and consuming only whole foods that don’t contain gluten, like gluten-free bread or pasta as well as whole foods like fruits, vegetables, meat, and eggs that are free of gluten.
Gluten is a protein that naturally occurs in certain foods, but it can also be added to foods during processing for texture. In addition to foods like pizza, pasta, cereal and baked goods, gluten can be found in a variety of foods and beverages, including cream, soy sauce, several pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and dietary supplements.
How it works
If you are planning to start this diet, you need to understand which foods contain gluten and avoid them. This is not as simple and easy, because gluten is found in many natural foods and food products.
On the gluten free diet, you can eat any naturally gluten free foods, such as:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Meat, fish, poultry, and eggs
- Beans and legumes
- Nuts and seeds
- Dairy products
Other grains and starches that are fine to eat (as long as they do not come boxed with seasonings) include:
There are plenty of both alcoholic and soft drinks that are gluten-free, including:
- Fruit juice
- Flavoured water
- Sports drinks
Reasons to avoid gluten
Most people can tolerate gluten without any issues, certain people need — or choose — to avoid certain foods containing gluten. People with the below conditions may need to avoid foods containing gluten:
- People with Celiac disease.
- People with gluten sensitivity
- People with gluten intolerance.
A gluten-free diet can help control your symptoms if you have any of these conditions. It can also help prevent health issues in people with Celiac disease. Talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diet if you suspect you have any of the conditions.
The benefits of a gluten-free diet
There is little or no scientific evidence that suggests that a gluten-free diet has health benefits for anyone without celiac disease or a non-celiac gluten sensitivity. According to perceptions, it may improve the digestive system of individuals with certain digestive disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In this case, a gluten-free diet might contribute to improved digestive health by reducing inflammation and discomfort.
Cons of a gluten-free diet:
There are certain cons that you should consider.
A gluten-free diet may lead to nutrient deficiencies, as many gluten-containing grains are rich in essential nutrients like fibre, B-vitamins, and iron. Individuals on a gluten-free diet need to find alternative sources to compensate for these nutrients.
Cost and availability:
Gluten-free products are often more expensive than their gluten-containing counterparts, and they may be less readily available. This can pose a financial burden and limit food choices, making it challenging to maintain a balanced diet.
Lack of dietary fibre:
Many gluten-free products are lower in dietary fibre, which is essential for digestive health. This can contribute to issues like constipation and negatively impact overall gut function.
Following a gluten-free diet can be socially challenging, especially when dining out or attending social events. It may lead to feelings of isolation and frustration, as accommodating a gluten-free diet can be challenging for others.
A family of proteins known as gluten is present in several grains. For those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) and celiac disease, eating it has negative effects. Additionally, items containing any kind of wheat should be avoided by those who are allergic to wheat. It’s critical that someone getting enough nutrition from other food sources doesn’t suffer from the effects of cutting out gluten from their diet.
If you’re interested in trying a gluten-free diet, talk to a physician or a registered dietitian before making any significant dietary adjustments. They can help create a sustainable and well-balanced gluten-free diet plan that meets your unique nutritional needs.