You will be shocked to know that besides the fact that Gluten is a hidden killer, most people shouldn’t eat gluten-free.
In 1920s a research conducted by the US government revealed that the animals that were fed on white flour containing gluten, suffered from fatal neurological diseases and ultimately died. At that point the Food and Drug Administration, FDA should have banned the product but they did not. Instead, the FDA suggested making certain changes to the product to rectify the problem. They declared that the flour products should be “enriched” with essential nutrients like iron and vitamins, in other words they declared that the white flour products should be fortified. Unfortunately, this step didn’t actually solve the problem but made it even worst. Millions of people who are taking this gluten containing foods face problems such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Products like wheat, barley, rye and other grains such as triticale and spelt, all contain a protein called, gluten. You can also find it in foods like breads, cereals, pastas, desserts, cookies, waffles, pancakes and other breakfast products.
According to a review published in the New England Journal of Medicine, gluten is responsible for causing at least 35 diseases. Some of them are ADHD (attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), anxiety, depression, arthritis, fatigue, loss of muscle coordination, organ inflammation, osteoporosis, fungal overgrowth, eczema and lupus. The number of gluten sensitive people is increasing at an alarming rate. Unfortunately, gluten sensitivity is not considered as a disease and therefore there is no cure for it. People having gluten sensitivity are at a risk of developing type 1 diabetes, brain disorders, thyroid disease, autism and gastrointestinal cancer.
Though gluten has negative effect on everyone out of which most of the effects are sub-clinical and cannot be detected at an early stage, still in most cases when the signs of a disease finally manifest its connection with gluten is either ignored or denied.
After knowing the harmful effects of Gluten we know your first reaction would be, “I am saying NO to Gluten foods”. Right? But let’s reconsider. Here is something that might change your mind.
Today as soon as people get to know about the harmful effects of gluten they start to eradicate it from their diet completely, at least this is what most of the Americans are doing.
But this is what the nutritionists suggest; they say that careful measures should be taken when excluding gluten from your diet as you can end up having an unhealthy diet.
According to the recent statistics by the NDP Group, a market research company, 30% adults wanted to either cut down gluten or go for gluten-free diet.
About 1% of the entire population is suffering from celiac disease. People having this disease are at a risk of developing an immune reaction due to the consumption of gluten which can damage the lining of the intestine. In such a case gluten-free diet is a must. But according to some researches for other people not having this disease, gluten-free diet would not prove to be fruitful.
Katherine Tallmadge, an expert dietitian and also author of the book, “Diet Simple” says that those people who cut down gluten unnecessarily may deprive themselves of some vital health benefits.
The gluten containing whole grains are a rich source of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibers. Whereas, gluten-free products are usually made up of refined grains and have a low nutritional value. She adds,” If you embrace such a diet, you’ll end up eating a lot of foods that are stripped of nutrients.” Studies reveal that a diet free of gluten is deficient in essential nutrients like fiber, folate, iron, thiamine, calcium, niacin, vitamin B12, zinc and phosphorus.
According to Tallmadge some people who decide to go for a gluten-free diet actually do so by cutting out junk foods and desserts. She says, “They mistakenly attribute that to their gluten-free decision.” Further she suggests, “You can eat a healthy diet without gluten, but you have to be very knowledgeable, and most people aren’t.”
Some people also believe that they can lose weight by having gluten-free diet but this is not the truth. Heather Mangieri, a nutrition consultant from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says, “There’s nothing magical about eliminating gluten that results in weight loss,” she adds, “any of us that eliminates or removes cookies and candies from our diets, and replaces them with fruits and vegetables is going to feel better.”
But if you still want to go for the gluten-free diet it is important that you consult your family physician first. Also ensure whether you have celiac disease or not and for that you will need to consult a gastroenterologist. Patients having this disease must avoid gluten. People with wheat allergy should avoid taking wheat but they can take other grains. Those who are sensitive to gluten may feel better by taking it in lesser quantities.
Mangieri also suggests that, “If you want to go gluten-free, do it the right way”. You can replace wheat with other healthy and natural gluten-free grains such as buckwheat or quinoa. Also add a lot of fruits and vegetables to your diet. Low fat dairy products and lean meat can be good options to be added to your gluten-free diet.
The conclusion is that if you do not have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity or if you are not allergic to wheat then gluten-free diet is not a very beneficial option for you.