It’s often rare for a serious medical
condition to spark a dieting fad. However, such is the case with the latest
gluten-free craze that has got a good majority ditching all gluten containing
In fact, the gluten free diet market is
booming and is estimated to be worth over 200 million pounds.
So what’s this entire craze about? Is
there scientific evidence behind this hype?
First things first, let’s get some facts
on the gluten-free diet.
Over the past years, gluten has been
getting a bad reputation due to its serious complications especially in people
with autoimmune disorders such as Celiac Disease as well as those with gluten
intolerance and gluten insensitivity.
People afflicted with Celiac Disease
experience autoimmune responses after ingesting gluten. Symptoms include
stomach pain, bloating, excessive gas, constipation, nausea diarrhoea,
increased or decreased appetite, anaemia, depression joint pain, including
Those with gluten intolerance and
sensitivity can also face similar symptoms.
This means that people with these
conditions should not eat foods containing gluten such as bread and pasta.
Does a Gluten-Free Diet Have Direct Effect on Your Health?
Before you stop eating bread, pasta, and
cereals, you might want to know whether a gluten-free diet really has a direct
effect on your health.
If you have not been diagnosed with Celiac
Disease, gluten intolerance or gluten sensitivity, a gluten-free diet may not
have a direct effect on your health at all.
In other words, removing gluten from your
diet will be no healthier than eating food containing gluten.
However, there is a possibility of
obtaining certain benefits but indirectly.
Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of
a gluten-free diet.
Gluten-Free Diet Pros
Gluten-Free Diet and Weight Loss
The truth is, many foods that are
processed contain a lot of gluten and unhealthy carbohydrates and are mainly
found in bread products like doughnuts and pastries. They also contain lots of
unhealthy oils, chemicals, sugar, artificial flavours, and preservatives.
Ideally, this makes gluten containing
foods unhealthy, and leads to weight gain in many people.
Most gluten-free foods on the other hand
may help promote healthy weight loss especially if you consume a balanced diet
containing essential carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
Improved Digestive Health
As stated earlier, most processed foods
contain gluten and large amounts of sugar.
Processed foods in general cause various
stomach complications such as bloating and excessive acidity, which all
interfere with the digestion process.
By eliminating gluten from your diet, you
will be promoting good digestive health.
Reduced Risk of Heart Disease and Other Conditions
By going gluten-free, it means that
high-fat and high-sugar foods such as doughnuts and pastries would be
completely off limits.
This would greatly reduce your risk of
heart disease, certain cancers, and other serious dietary conditions like
Gluten-Free Diet Cons
You don’t receive enough fibre.
By cutting gluten from your diet, you are
also reducing your intake of whole grains such as wheat, which is a key source
of fibre and something that most of us don’t get enough of.
Your diet will lack essential nutrients.
A gluten free diet contain less of the
essential nutrients such as magnesium, zinc, selenium and folate.
In many cases of people on gluten free
diets it is sensible to take nutritional supplements but always check with your
Expensive and restricting.
Most gluten free foods are more expensive
than regular alternatives and in spite of their growing popularity, there is
still a relatively narrow range of options in the supermarkets. Eating out can
be difficult as well and it is always best to phone in advance to check that
gluten free meals are on the menu.
While a gluten-free diet could be considered
to be fashionable in many cases apart from diagnosed medical need, evidence
would suggest that there are many health benefits.
However, please remember that while eliminating
or reducing your gluten intake may have a positive impact on your health; this
will only be true if you follow a healthy, well-balanced diet.
And remember, Mayfair Cares.