6 things you need to know about Gluten free diet

Guten-free is one of the biggest health trend around the globe. Lot of people around the world have been avoiding gluten for health reasons and because they believe that it helps in weight loss. Many health and wellness websites to nutritionist too suggest that you should follow the gluten free food.

This has led millions of people to give up gluten in hopes of losing weight, improving mood, and getting healthier.

It’s clear that some people must avoid it for health reasons, such as those with celiac disease or an intolerance

Read on to learn more about gluten.

What Is Gluten?

Gluten is a collective term that refers to many different types of proteins (prolamins) found in wheat, barley, rye etc. (1Trusted Source).

Gluten proteins — such as glutenin and gliadin — are highly elastic, which is why gluten-containing grains are most suited for making bread and other baked goods.

In fact, extra gluten is often added to baked goods to increase the strength, rise, and shelf life of the finished product.

Gluten proteins are highly resistant to protease enzymes that break down proteins in your digestive tract. This leads to incomplete digestion and creates gluten related condition like celiac disease in some people.

Conditions linked to Gluten

Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is an inflammatory autoimmune disease caused by both genetic and environmental factors. It impacts around 1% of the world’s population.

It’s a chronic condition where the ingestion of these grains causes damage to cells lining in your small intestine. This leads to intestinal damage, nutrient malabsorption, and symptoms like weight loss, anemia, osteoporosis, skin disease and diarrhea (7Trusted Source).

Still, many people with celiac disease may have no symptoms at all (8Trusted Source9Trusted Source).

Wheat Allergy

Wheat allergy is more common in children but can impact adults as well. Those who are allergic to wheat have an abnormal immune response to specific proteins in wheat and wheat products (4Trusted Source).

Symptoms can range from mild nausea to severe, life-threatening anaphylaxis — an allergic reaction that can cause difficulty breathing — after ingesting wheat or inhaling wheat flour.

Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity

Non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) is diagnosed when a person does not have either celiac or allergy and still experiences symptoms — such as headache, fatigue, and joint pain — when they consume gluten (11Trusted Source).

Autoimmune Disease

There are several theories as to why gluten may cause or worsen autoimmune conditions, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, type 1 diabetes, Grave’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Other Conditions

Gluten has also been tied to bowel diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (17Trusted Source).

Lastly, research indicates that gluten-free diets benefit people with other conditions, such as fibromyalgia, endometriosis, and schizophrenia (2Trusted Source).

Should Everyone Avoid Gluten?

It’s clear that many people, such as those with celiac disease, NCGS, and autoimmune diseases, benefit from following a gluten-free diet.

Nevertheless, it’s unclear whether everyone — regardless of health status — should change their eating habits. Several research is happening around the world on the benefits of gluten free diet.

Currently, the only way to know if you would personally benefit from a gluten-free diet after ruling out celiac disease and wheat allergy is to avoid gluten and monitor your symptoms.

Why Many People Feel Better?

There are several reasons why most people feel better on a gluten-free diet.

1) Avoiding gluten usually means cutting back on processed foods, as it’s mostly found in a wide array of highly processed foods, such as fast food, baked goods, and sugary cereals. These foods not only contain gluten but are typically also high in calories, sugar, and unhealthy fats.

Many people say that they lose weight, feel less fatigued, and have less joint pain on a gluten-free diet. It’s likely that these benefits are due to avoidance of sugary and processed food instead of gluten.

2) People often replace gluten-containing foods with healthier options, such as vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and proteins. This can promote health and well-being.

Is Gluten free Diet Safe?

Cutting out any food item has to be replaced with products which can provide same type of nutrition. This should always be kept in mind whenever you are trying any type of diet.

Similarly cutting down of wheat leds to decease in the intake of various nutrients, such as Vitamins B, fiber, zinc, iron, and potassium. However these can easily be replaced by following a well-rounded diet consisting of vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and nutritious protein sources.

Are Gluten-Free Products Healthier?

The answer is big No.

Many companies market gluten-free cookies, cakes, and other highly processed foods as healthier than their gluten-containing counterparts. Always keep in mind that any diet that relies heavily on processed foods is unlikely to result in any health benefits. Therefore always read the labels before purchasing any food item. Gluten free in itself cannot make any thing healthier.

Gluten-free products are beneficial for those who need them due to underlying conditions. They’re not any healthier  for those who don’t have any conditions. Research is still on whether adopting this diet benefits the health of those without an intolerance.

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