Going gluten free can really be beneficial, but as with any health choices you make, you have to take the time to consider all sides. That's why it's so important to think about the pros and cons of going gluten free before you make that decision. It is really, really helpful for some people, while others don't really like it at all. Either choice is fine – for you, as an individual, because diet and health choices are intensely individualistic! Bearing that at mind, check out these advantages and disadvantages to decide if a gluten free diet is right for you!
1. Pro: No Inflammation
Some people are very sensitive to gluten and some people have a full throttle intolerance. In those cases, going gluten free is extremely beneficial. Such sensitivities are caused by a number of things, such as a damaged intestines or certain diseases that cause inflammation. If you stop eating products and foods with gluten in them, those problems could reverse themselves and go away.
2. Con: Less Folate
One of the biggest cons associated with a gluten free diet is the lack of certain important nutrients. This one actually deserves its own mention, because folate is incredibly important. Unfortunately, most gluten free foods don't have the amount of folate you need, due to the fact that they aren't fortified. The lack isn't great for your body, which is definitely something to take into consideration.
3. Pro: Fewer Processed Foods
A lot of processed foods contain gluten. If you're paying more attention to your diet by searching for foods without gluten, then by default, you'll be eating far less processed foods. That's a good thing, because in addition, you won't be ingesting the chemicals and preservatives found in processed foods. That only adds to your health, so it's definitely a plus.
4. Con: Extra Preparation
This one may not seem like a big deal, but it's actually a big consideration when you're thinking about going gluten free. You might not think about it before you take the step, but you have to realize that preparing gluten free foods takes a longer amount of time. You'll actually have to prepare them separately from other foods, just to make sure you don't accidentally inject any gluten.
5. Pro: Improved Overall Health
Another gluten free pro is unquestionably the fact that taking gluten out of your diet can improve certain aspects of your overall health. For example, eliminating gluten can definitely help you lose weight. As mentioned, it helps with certain diseases, such as celiac disease. Even something as simple as migraines can see some relief by eliminating gluten from your daily diet.
6. Con: Lack of Nutrients
This is a big gluten free con as well. You see, when you get rid of any gluten in your diet, you're not just running the risk of not getting enough folate. You'll also be severely lacking in many other important nutrients and vitamins. You'll have to get your fiber from other sources, not to mention your iron, both of which are very important aspects of a healthy, well balanced diet.
7. Pro: Reduced Health Risks
Along with improved overall health, going gluten free also lowers your risk for certain diseases. For example, you're less likely to get type 2 diabetes or anemia, and even type 1 diabetes may benefit from a lack of gluten. Because eliminating gluten helps you lose weight, you'll also be less at risk for things such as heart disease, not to mention obesity.
8. Con: Possible Deficiencies
Because you won't be getting things like iron, fiber, and folate unless you look for alternative sources, if you go gluten free, you could develop certain deficiencies. Your digestion might suffer, a possible lack of carbs is definitely bad news, and you may end up losing weight not because you're getting healthier, but because you're not getting what you need to sustain your body.
9. Pro: More Grains
Going gluten free also ensures that you'll get good carbs rather than refined carbs. You'll eat more healthy grains, which is fantastic for your diet. That's because you'll be looking for alternatives, such as quinoa. The result is absolutely beneficial, as long as you're careful. You just have to make sure that you definitely are getting all the grains you need.
10. Con: Weight Gain
In addition to possibly becoming deficient, you might begin to gain weight when you take gluten out of your diet. This isn't necessarily bad, but after getting used to your new diet, your intestinal tract will renew itself and recover from the changes you've introduced to your body. As a result, it will also start taking in nutrients the way it's supposed to, which is definitely good. However, you'll then put on more weight, so it's something to be aware of when you change your diet.
Knowing the pros and cons of going gluten free helps you make the right decision for you, your body, and your health needs. I've tried to present a clear and balanced explanation of what's good and bad about the diet, and I really hope that seeing the pros and cons laid out like this will aid you in making the best decision for you. Are you going gluten free? I'd love to hear about your stories, and I'm sure the other readers would as well!
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