Gluten Free diet was developed essentially for people suffering from celiac disease where the patients are incapable of processing food with gluten. It was essential for them as gluten causes an adverse immune action, which can cause damage to the lining in the small intestine.
This inhibits the absorption of nutrients from the food and causes symptoms like diarrhea, bone ache, skin rash, and anemia.
The disease effects about 1% of the population and is hard to diagnose without a blood test and biopsy.
It is important for people who have celiac disease or sensitivity to gluten to eat a gluten free diet. It is not for healthy people who are on a fad diet.
The fact remains that most of the people who are buying and using the gluten free products are neither suffering from celiac disease nor from gluten intolerance.
They are using them as a way to lose weight or in the misinformed belief that it is a healthy diet.
When healthy people switch to a gluten-free diet, they are making a big change in their eating habits. They are restricted by their choice from eating grains like wheat, rye, barley and oats in any form.
This is just the beginning, there are a host of other grains that are excluded, like, durum flour, farina, semolina, kamut, graham flour, spelt.
They will be unable to eat and drink any food that is not labelled gluten free. If we were to list out all the foods that one cannot eat, people will probably be left wondering what they can eat.
This change in diet could leave their food deficient in nutrients. Gluten free foods can be deficient in important nutrient like calcium, folic acid, iron, zinc, magnesium, vitamin B complex, and fiber.
If one cuts grains out completely from their diet, it may be detrimental to their health.
Another argument is that the products available off the shelf may be free of glutinous grains, but have more sodium, fat and sugar than regular products.
These foods will not help them to lose weight, but will cause people to put on weight. Including grains, especially whole grains is a good way to keep down the amount of carbohydrates in the food.
If someone wishes to go gluten free it may benefit them if they are sensitive to gluten. A lot of people who are not suffering from Celiac disease or from non-celiac gluten intolerance, may be sensitive to gluten and feel better after eliminating it from their diet.
Sensitivity to gluten could make one feel gassy and bloated, cause inflammation, diarrhea and a host of other symptoms.
The new trend towards gluten free diets may be fueled by the desire to lose weight and stay healthy, but if one bases ones diet only on what is available on the shelf, then they are far from reaching this goal.
People who are seriously into a gluten free diet should ensure to include gluten free grains into their diet. Grains like rice, maize or corn, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, and amaranth are good choices.
All these whole grains will help to add bulk to the food without adding any gluten to it. These grains will also help you to lose weight as the body uses more resources to digest these than refined grain.
Cooking for oneself rather than depending on gluten free products will ensure a healthy diet that is complete in all the basic and micro nutrients, vitamins and fiber that the body needs to keep healthy.
Use fresh fruits, vegetables, gluten free grains and other healthy ingredients to have a complete diet.
Doctors do warn that it is futile to exclude just a little gluten from your diet. For people who are genuinely sensitive to gluten, even trace amounts can cause trouble.
So most experts see no point in taking to a gluten free diet, unless a medical practitioner determines that they are in need for it as they are gluten sensitive or have celiac.
Another drawback that experts see is that, a gluten free diet is a lot more expensive than one that is inclusive. All gluten free grains are more expensive. If one is buying gluten free food off the shelf, even then one is paying a lot more.
So unless the body totally rejects gluten it would be better to stick with gluten rather than being without it.
- Will A Gluten-Free Diet Really Make You Healthier – Consumerreports.org
- Should We All Go Gluten-Free – NYTimes.com