Gluten is a form of protein. It is generally found in wheat, barley, rye, and spelt. Most people have no issues consuming gluten, which is easily digestible. Although, there are a few of us who are allergic to gluten. In that case, it is essential to consume gluten-free foods or adopt a gluten-free diet—a diet in which there is no food component consisting of gluten. There are a few natural food items that do not contain gluten. Such food items are grains, fruits, and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some herbs, dairy products, and animal-based products like eggs and meat.
Gluten comes from the word ‘glue.’ It refers to the type of consistency it has when we try to dissolve it in water. The content is added to bread, cakes, pasta, and other baked products. Gluten provides the ability to raise the bread properly. That is the reason people widely use it in bakery goods. People who are allergic to gluten have celiac disease. It is a disorder that damages the small intestine when you consume gluten. Therefore, it is imperative to understand whether you are allergic or not before consuming gluten products.
The HealthifyMe Note:
Gluten is a general name for the combination of prolamin and glutelin proteins and holds the shapes of foods. Gluten is a protein naturally found in various foods, mostly cereal grains. You can find it in several foods, including wheat, barley, rye, oats, triticale, etc. A gluten-free diet is a nutritional plan that strictly restricts gluten in one’s diet. This diet mainly involves eating only naturally whole gluten-free foods.
Advantages of a Gluten-free diet
Treatment of Celiac disease
Celiac disease is a chronic digestive disorder. It damages the small intestine, and the primary cause is gluten. According to research, up to 1% of people worldwide are affected by this autoimmune disease. When gluten enters the body, the antibodies mistake it for a foreign disease. Antibodies have the instinct to damage the foreign particle as a sign of danger. Hence the body overreacts and causes disturbance in the body.
It helps in better digestion.
Gluten-free diets are more helpful in improving the digestive system. There are various side effects of gluten, including bloating, vomiting, constipation, and abdominal pain. A gluten-free diet is a healthier option. People with non-celiac gluten sensitivity can benefit from better digestion.
Helpful in losing weight
Many processed products and baked goods contain gluten. Going gluten-free means eliminating these high cholesterol products, which improves the diet. Instead of munching on the packed food, you can eat fruits and vegetables. Other products like grains, nuts and seeds, herbs, dairy products, and animal-based products like eggs and meat are also gluten-free and healthy.
Provides an energy boost
People who have celiac disease tend to feel more tired. This tiresome feeling will go away if you switch to a gluten-free diet. In addition, it will help you boost energy.
Gluten-free products are very healthy. The egg and meat provide the right amount of protein to the body. On the other hand, fruits give a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. Nuts and seeds are high in nutrients like calcium and potassium. So, if you follow a gluten-free diet, you will have a healthy lifestyle.
It is impossible to cure celiac by anything other than a nutritional approach. Some gluten-free foods include vegetables, fruits, arrowroot, buckwheat, chia, quinoa, nut flour, teff, amaranth, yucca, flax, corn, eggs, lean chicken, unprocessed meat, fish and poultry, low-fat dairy products, and sorghum, etc.
The HealthifyMe Note:
The gluten-free diet is suitable for people with celiac disease. Restricting gluten for the rest of your life is necessary to curb the adverse outcomes. Even the slightest amount can trigger the immune system, which will cause damage to the small intestine. A nutritional approach with a gluten-free diet is essential to relieve the symptoms and heal the damage. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease caused by genes or hypersensitivity to gluten, making it difficult to digest or absorb. Common symptoms include nausea, irritability, digestive conditions, skin issues, malnutrition, bloating, diarrhoea, and headaches.
Disadvantages of a Gluten-free diet
Every diet has some benefits and limitations. There are a few limitations to the gluten-free diet as well. Although, if you have celiac disease, you must follow a gluten-free diet as the gluten-inclusive diet is harmful. It can cause severe abdominal pain and cause problems with indigestion.
A few limitations that a gluten-free diet has are as follows:
Lack of fibre
It is a challenge to find fibre-rich food in a gluten-free diet. One of the significant sources of fibre is whole wheat products. Since the bread contains gluten, it becomes difficult to consume. Hence, there are minimal sources of fibre food products. It is difficult to find, but not impossible. If you are willing to keep a very health-conscious diet, you can do it even being gluten-free. It would be best if you found the right substitutes. For example, eat more fibre-rich fruits and vegetables to cover up the loss.
Leads to type 2 diabetes
A gluten-free diet might reduce the intake of calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B, iron, and other trace minerals.
Several research studies give evidence of an increase in type 2 diabetes due to a gluten-free diet. When the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, it causes type 2 diabetes. It can happen due to the lack of gluten in the body.
It will become difficult if you often like to go outside for a treat or some snacks. Unfortunately, very few restaurants and cafes have gluten-free dishes. Generally, all the cakes, bread, pastries, and buns contain some amount of gluten. Also, you do not have many options for packed products.
Mostly all the packaged food items contain gluten. Therefore, you must be careful about what you put in your body. Read the label every time you want to buy something. The best way to tackle this is to consider making your food at home. Do not rely much on the outside food. And for snacks, try to choose fruits over packed products.
Gluten-free products cost more than other products. Therefore, it might result in spending more than you usually do. However, it is necessary and worth it if you have celiac disease. But if you do not have this disease, it entirely depends on you if you want to follow this diet or not.
The HealthifyMe Note:
A gluten-free diet includes various advantages and disadvantages. Some benefits include that it is favourable for celiac disease, foods that you can have in a gluten-free diet are easy to digest, aid in weight loss, boost energy, and are nutrient-dense. However, these foods lack fibre, due to which leads to diabetes or enhances the condition; it is inconvenient and strictly restrictive.
Gluten, derived from the word ‘glue,’ is a form of protein. If you have Celiac disease, you should carry on a gluten-free diet. However, a few natural food items do not contain gluten. Such food items are grains, fruits, and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some herbs, dairy products, and animal-based products like eggs and meat.
Celiac disease is a chronic digestive disorder that damages the small intestine and results from gluten. Moreover, a gluten-free diet helps in better digestion. Although, it is essential to note that if you do not have celiac disease, it entirely depends on your choice if you want to follow a gluten-free diet or not. But you should always consult your healthcare provider or dietician before making any changes to your diet.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What is the downside of a gluten-free diet?
A. A gluten-free diet has a few downsides, like lack of fibre, which might lead to type 2 diabetes. It might also cause inconvenience as there is extensive use of gluten. Finding a restaurant that serves gluten-free dishes might be a challenge. Also, the expenditure increases as there are limited products without gluten.
Q. What are the pros of a gluten-free diet?
A. There are a large number of pros to gluten-free. First, it treats celiac disease, a chronic digestive disorder. It results from gluten and damages the small intestine. Also, a gluten-free diet helps in better digestion. It helps lose weight. Many packed products and baked goods contain gluten. Going gluten-free means eliminating these high cholesterol products, which help reduce weight. It also provides an energy boost and is overall a very nutritious diet.
Q. Can going gluten-free be harmful?
A. There are a few limitations to going gluten-free. First, you must follow a gluten-free diet if you have celiac disease. Although if you are trying to switch by choice, there are a lot of benefits you will enjoy. Although if not followed properly or under the guidance of a dietician, it might adversely affect your overall health.
Q. Why are many doctors against a gluten-free diet?
A. If you do not have celiac disease, it is advisable not to shift to a gluten-free diet. Mostly all the doctors suggest you not change to gluten-free. The main reason behind that is there will be a lack of a few specific nutrients that you might get by eating a gluten-inclusive diet. In addition, a gluten-free diet can cause a lack of fibre which is not healthy for your overall health. In a sense, going gluten-free by choice is not considered beneficial. There is a lot you might miss. Also, there is a bit of inconvenience you might face if you go for the gluten-free diet.
Q. What happens to your body when you stop eating gluten and sugar?
A. If you stop eating gluten and sugar, various things might happen. The upside would be that you’ll start losing weight and feel more energetic. It might also cure your food allergies. But there are a few downsides to that. You will feel hungry very frequently, and you might experience constipation. There is also a chance that you might have emotional changes and sugar cravings.
Q. Will you lose weight eating gluten-free?
A. On having a gluten-free diet, losing weight is one of the benefits. The reason is simple many packed products and baked goods contain gluten. Going gluten-free means eliminating these high cholesterol products. It helps improve the diet.
Instead of munching on the packed food, you can eat fruits and vegetables. Other products like grains, nuts and seeds, herbs, dairy products, and animal-based products like eggs and meat are also gluten-free and healthy. It helps you lose weight.
Q. Does a gluten-free diet improve skin?
A. There is no evidence of a gluten-free diet improving the skin. If you do not have celiac disease, there is no need to go gluten-free. It will not help your skin in any way. Going gluten-free also means a lack of some essential nutrients, which might cause more harm to your health.
Q. Do we need gluten?
A. Yes, there are various benefits when you include gluten in your diet. Not only do you receive all the nutrients required for the body, but it is also helpful in cases like reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. In addition, gluten can help decrease heart disease risk and not hinder fibre intake.
Q. Should everyone be gluten-free?
A. No, if you do not have celiac disease, it is advisable not to shift to a gluten-free diet. Mostly all the doctors suggest you not change to gluten-free. There are some drawbacks to the gluten-free diet.
Q. What health problems are caused by gluten?
A. There are many health issues gluten can cause if you have celiac disease. For example, it might cause bloating, vomiting, constipation, and abdominal pain. Although, if you do not have celiac disease, you should avoid going gluten-free.