When you hear “gluten-free” it’s hard to know if this buzzword is just a fad or a genuine issue as wide as the media makes it out to be. I know it is genuine because I have a very good friend who has had celiac disease since they were born. So let’s be real, the genuine celiacs out there have a serious issue with gluten – it can make them very ill indeed. However, how much of the proliferation of people deciding they need to follow a gluten-free diet needs to be scrutinized. Bread has been “the staff of life” for millennia – ever since man decided to do things with food other than just eat what he could pick and grow. Yet here we are with a mass of the population saying they need to be gluten-free. So what do you need to know to help you decide on this issue?
1. Gluten Can Be Good for You!
Not all gluten is bad for you or will make you gain weight; some types can actually be good for you. Whole grain foods that contain gluten are a fantastic source of fiber and contain a whole host of nutrients. Introducing whole grains into your daily diet will help you get the balanced and healthy diet that you need. If you are jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon then make sure that you are getting these nutrients from something else so that you don’t miss out and end up unhealthy.
2. It Does Not Cause You to Gain Weight
Shocked at this fact about gluten? So many people assume that gluten prevents you from losing weight and makes you gain a couple of pounds if eaten regularly. In fact, gluten-free products tend to contain more carbs and sugar than food containing gluten. By avoiding gluten and shopping for gluten-free foods when you are not gluten intolerant, you could actually end up gaining weight!
3. Gluten Helps to Keep You Full
If you feel like you can’t stop nibbling all day then it is probably the case that you do not have a diet high enough in fiber or protein. Gluten is a protein and also contains fiber, helping to keep you fuller for longer. If you cut out gluten you might feel the constant need to snack, causing you to eat unnecessarily, leading to weight gain. If you are feeling peckish then have a snack high in fiber that contains vitamins and gluten.
4. Gluten is Protein
We all know the importance of protein in our diets, and many of us find our protein sources from gluten. Foods containing protein from gluten include oats, pasta, bread, breakfast cereal, couscous and grains. If you don’t eat gluten you might struggle to get your recommended daily intake of protein, leading to low blood pressure, anemia and weak muscles.
5. Gluten is Perfect for Baking
If you’re a foodie and love your desserts and sweet treats then it is probably gluten that’s making the food taste so good. Flour containing gluten causes the dessert to rise and thicken, resulting in a tasty texture. Gluten-free desserts are usually thicker, crumbly and heavy. This is due to the fact that gluten-free flour can’t work in the same way regular flour can when baked. Also, gluten-free desserts are often higher in sugar and carbs, so if you’re choosing gluten-free to be healthier it doesn’t really makes sense to bake gluten-free.
6. Gluten is Not Bad for You
Gluten-free is marketed as a healthy version of food, and with celebs following the gluten-free diet and looking fantastic it has caused people to think that gluten is harmful. You must remember that gluten-free products are often stripped of their healthy and essential nutrients, causing you to have an unbalanced diet.
7. Gluten-free Doesn’t Mean Good for You
If you do not have a condition that causes you to be intolerant to gluten then you should really consider the facts before you chose a gluten-free diet. People who avoid gluten in their diet often find it tough to find a balance, causing deficiencies in essential nutrients. If you want to remove gluten from your diet then you need to ensure that you get all the minerals and vitamins from other sources. This requires a little knowledge about nutrition and conscious eating. If you don’t do your research when you go gluten free you can actually become pretty unhealthy. If your heart is set on going gluten free for whatever reason, make sure you buy a couple of books and read up on maintaining a balanced and healthy diet.
I’m not a nutritionist, but I have researched these points carefully. While I have presented factual information I don’t think anyone should make a decision based on an article. If you think you are gluten intolerant, then have it confirmed medically. If you want to cut out gluten in the belief it will make you healthier, consult a nutritionist or dietician.