Gluten-free fashion is ‘talk of the town: According to National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, around 1% of entire US population suffers from celiac disease. It has no pharmaceutical cures, but to adopt gluten-free diet.
Going gluten-free seems to be the new fad. There are warnings everywhere of the dreaded gluten and how it’s unhealthy for you and how much better it is to go gluten free. So what’s the fuss about?
Why Gluten Is Bad?
Gluten is a protein found in many cereals such rye, barley, wheat and is present in many processed foods as well. People claim that gluten is unhealthy and ridding your diet of is in fact a step towards better health. But the reality is that gluten poses a problem to only those who have wheat allergies or celiac disease.
People with celiac disease are unable to process the gluten in their diet. The gluten irritates the lining of the small intestine, which begins to shed cells, thus reducing the uptake of nutrients into the bloodstream. Gluten-free diets are a required part of their life. Symptoms can vary over different ages but most commonly include anemia, pain and discomfort in the abdomen, chronic diarrhea or constipation, fatigue and sometimes lactose intolerance may even develop. People with celiac are also more predisposed towards developing cancer of the small intestine.
What’s So Bad About Gluten: Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance
According to National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, around 1% of the entire population of the United States suffers from celiac disease. It is a genetic disorder. There are no pharmaceutical cures for celiac and the only option is to adopt a gluten-free diet. Symptoms of gluten sensitivity lessen with the use of a gluten-free diet.
Some people also suffer from a condition known as non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Celiac disease is absent in these people but upon ingesting gluten they show symptoms of the disease. This is a rare scenario however.
Why gluten is bad: In a study published in the Digestive journal, researchers from the University of L’Aquila in Italy conducted a two- year study in which they tested people who believed they were gluten sensitive. The participants were told to eat gluten-containing food for two months after which diagnostics tests (such as blood tests and endoscopies) were conducted. These tests were done to determine whether any of the participants had wheat allergies or celiac disease. After the initial tests, they were instructed to adhere to a gluten-free diet for six months.
When the six-month period finished, the participants were again tested and those who tested negative for celiac and wheat allergies had gluten introduced in their diets again while being monitored for sensitivity to the gluten.
Out of the 392 people involved in the study, 26 were found to have celiac whereas only 2 were diagnosed with wheat allergies. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity was reported in 27 participants whereas 86% had neither celiac, wheat allergies nor NCGS and can in fact tolerate gluten without any negative health consequences. Just thinking that you are gluten sensitive does not mean you actually have to go gluten free.
Why Gluten Is Bad For Weight Watcher
Many people believe that going gluten-free is the secret to being leaner and healthier as the dreaded carb factor is erased from the diet. They couldn’t be more wrong. Gluten-free products tend to be higher in sugars, fats and sodium and have lower nutritional value than those containing gluten. To enhance the texture and flavor of gluten-free products more harmful additives are included.
A product being labeled as gluten free does not mean the same thing as being calorie free. Also many gluten-free products lack some vital vitamins such as vitamin B9 (folic acid) which is essential for growth of nails, hair and skin as well as preventing anemia.
For those looking to control their weight, a well-balanced diet consisting of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, proteins and healthy fats is the best bet. And those who need to avoid gluten products can eat whole grains, which are naturally gluten free such as corn, buckwheat and brown rice.