What in the World Is Gluten-Free Food?

What in the World Is Gluten-Free Food?

Kar Kei Wong by Kar Kei Wong on Mar 30, 2016
Why you should care

Before you get on the diet trend, chew on this.

As gluten-free products populate supermarket aisles and menus, it’s time we asked, “What’s the deal with gluten-free?”

To help you decide whether gluten-free is good for you, here’s the whole story.

What is gluten?

barleyGluten is a protein found in most grains such as wheat, barley and rye. This means that foods like cereal, bread, pasta, and crackers contain gluten.

What about a gluten-free diet?

A gluten-free diet requires a lot of discipline. The fact that most grains contain gluten means that almost whole food categories have to be eliminated. However, here are food groups that don’t contain gluten:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Meat and poultry
  • Fish and seafood
  • Dairy
  • Beans, legumes and nuts
  • Gluten-free grains such as amaranth, millet and quinoa

So why do people do gluten-free diets?

The most common reason for adopting the gluten-free diet is Celiac disease. People who suffer this disease will face discomfort and digestive issues when consuming gluten. Even the slightest trace of the protein will damage the intestine’s lining.

For the rest of us who can digest gluten, there is literally no benefit from going without it! Sorry to disappoint but it does not actually help you lose weight! In fact, this diet has harmful risks!

Why are gluten-free diets inadvisable for those without Celiac disease?

Going gluten-free is not something to take lightly and here’s why:

  • You’re skipping some major health benefits. Gluten itself may not hold any nutritional benefits but the whole grains that you will be removing from your diet do. These whole grains can actually help lower the risk of heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, and some form of cancers.
  • Gluten-free products aren’t cheap. The “gluten-free” labels come at a high price because of their stringent certification process. With little to no benefits, there’s no point in spending all that extra money.
  • It’s gluten-free, but that’s it. Companies sometimes add more fat and sugar (saturated fat and cholesterol – yikes!) for flavour. People get fooled into thinking that gluten-free food is healthier than it actually is!
  • You’re giving yourself more health issues. Even if you do not have Celiac disease, years and years of following a diet that does not contain gluten can make your body sensitive to the protein. If you suspect that you have Celiac disease, don’t attempt to diagnose yourself. Instead, consult a doctor for tests.
  • Don’t sacrifice your mental wellbeing. Being healthy has always focused on the importance of self-love and satisfaction. Such a restrictive diet can cause undue stress and anxiety.
  • It could make you pack on the pounds. As people believe that gluten-free snacks are healthier, they might consume more of it and unknowingly put on weight. Yes, put down those potato chips!
  • You may be missing out on essential vitamins, minerals, and fibre. If you were to follow a gluten-free diet, be extremely careful when planning your meals. Cutting out essential food categories can make you nutrient-deficient!

The only good reason to ever go on a gluten-free diet is if you’re absolutely sure that you can’t digest it. There are other ways to lose weight or get healthy, swearing off gluten is just not one of them!

Why you should care

Before you get on the diet trend, chew on this.

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