Go Gluten-Free?-Deciding if You Should
The question of whether or not you should go gluten-free is a tricky one to answer and there are a few reasons for this.
In this article, we’ll look at the different factors at play and you can decide if you really need to go gluten-free or if it’s just something you are wanting to do which isn’t really necessary.
Who MUST go gluten-free?
If you’re suffering from celiac disease or you have non-celiac gluten sensitivity, then you absolutely must adopt a gluten-free diet.
Your body’s adverse reaction to gluten will cause a whole host of health problems for you ranging from abdominal pain to skin rashes.
When is it just a want?
If you are not gluten sensitive, going gluten-free is unnecessary and most doctors recommend against it.
It’s important to differentiate fads from facts.
Currently, gluten has gotten a very bad rep and if you jump on the bandwagon and avoid gluten just because everyone else is doing it, you’ll be doing yourself a disservice.
You must know why it’s bad… and usually, it’s only bad for those who are intolerant to it.
Upon closer examination
When a person suffering from celiac disease goes on a gluten-free diet, it’s a chance for the body to heal.
The small intestine has time to recover.
Gluten-sensitive people react negatively to gluten which causes health disorders to arise.
They need to cut it out totally so that their bodies are no longer triggered by the gluten.
Even the smallest amount can cause problems. So, that’s their cross to bear.
But what if you’re not affected by gluten?
Then your body doesn’t really need any healing in this area.
That leaves you with only one reason – the benefits of a gluten-free diet.
Quite frankly, there really aren’t that many benefits.
The biggest benefit would be that you cut out a huge chunk of processed foods because most of these foods contain gluten, etc.
The moment you do this, you’ll be cutting out a lot of calories and sugar too. This will result in weight loss and you feeling better.
Often, people conflate this benefit with the benefits of the gluten-free diet.
In reality, you do the same thing with the paleo diet too.
In fact, most diets will recommend reducing or eliminating your consumption of processed foods.
You do NOT need to be on a gluten-free diet to do it.
That said, there are people who switch from normal cookies to gluten-free cookies.
What happens here is that they’re still eating processed foods, but now they’ve given up the gluten and fibre and get a higher proportion of sodium, sugar, etc.
The diet then becomes detrimental. There are definitely two sides to this coin.
You have to be aware of that.
A gluten-free diet can cause constipation because of the decrease in dietary fibre.
To prevent this, you’ll need to increase your intake of vegetables and foods such as brown rice, peas, etc.
You may also encounter nutrient deficiencies.
Normal bread contains a lot of enriched vitamins and minerals. While it can lead to weight gain, it is still rich in nutrients that your body needs.
Cutting out bread and the usual gluten containing foods will not only mean the exclusion of gluten, but also all the vitamins and minerals that come from these foods.
Now you may end up having nutrient deficiencies.
This is all extra hassle and if you’re not gluten intolerant, the small benefits that you may derive from the gluten-free diet just don’t warrant this much effort.
That’s it in a nutshell.