The Gluten-Free Diet is a diet plan for people who either have sensitivity to gluten, or those who want to avoid it for personal reasons. It’s had a rise in popularity since it’s closely linked to the low carbohydrate craze.
This form of dieting is often only practiced with those with celiac disease. It’s known that only about 1% of the population has this disease.
However, people without celiac disease have also adopted this diet in order to avoid possible gluten related symptoms. Here are some other facts about this diet.
You can also transition away from these common gluten heavy foods by using the many gluten free breads, crackers, and cookies. Many supermarkets now cater to the consumer who doesn’t want to eat gluten.
This isn’t a weight loss diet exactly, but some users and proponents of a Gluten-Free diet do claim it’s able to help one lose weight. For those that truly can’t process gluten, this diet would be necessary and able to help weight from piling on.
Though this diet is often only advised for people with celiac disease, there’s now a lot of information on what effects this diet will have.
It’s easier to describe what’s not allowed by this diet. This includes foods such as rye, wheat, barley, and most baked goods. There are also new strains of gluten crops that are often not well known.
Here’s a list of common foods and items you won’t be able to eat:
Anything else is considered edible. Though it’s incredibly important to read the ingredients section to see if there’s any gluten. Some items such as seasoning will often have gluten inside.
This can be tricky especially when you use seasonings or eat out. Many times foods will contain hidden gluten, since it’s not mandatory to list gluten as an ingredient in the US.
Some pre-packaged foods will list gluten as an ingredient as this has become a popular diet, but not all companies will guarantee notification.
Also, since knowledge about gluten is often still coming out, there are many new resources available which list what alternatives you can eat to stay away from gluten. Many free resources are available from celiac disease organizations online.
There’s not one specific guidebook or resource that specifies how to properly maintain this diet.
How Does the Diet Work?
It’s fairly simple; you just avoid gluten that is found in foods like rye, wheat, oats, and barley.
The Mayo Clinic also adds that:
“(those with) celiac disease must eat a strictly gluten-free diet and must remain on the diet for the remainder of their lives”
So this is not essential for all humans. In fact, a major issue with this diet is that certain people may not get enough nutrients such as:
Iron, calcium, fiber, folate, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin.
For these type of people an additional nutritional supplement may be required. Although, for those who do have celiac disease, they can actually lose thee nutrients when they eat gluten-containing foods.
However, since this style of diet is not necessary for most, you can avoid having to restrict yourself from healthy foods such as oatmeal, breads, and common grain side dishes.
Luckily, unless you have celiac disease, there’s really no reason to go on this diet. If you do have celiac or gluten sensitivity, you’ll likely know it from a lack of vitamin absorption, nausea after gluten meals, and indigestion.
“many gluten-free processed foods are lower in fiber, vitamins, and minerals”
Therefore, it’s highly advised to not eat gluten free breads, cookies, crackers, and other alternatives. They suggest you introduce more healthy vegetables and fruits. However, depending on the website, there are different opinions of what you should eat instead of gluten foods. Some groups will offer direct substitutes that taste like foods that have gluten, while others will provide basic guidelines on what to eat.
This diet plan isn’t necessary for those who don’t already have gluten sensitivity. If you’re looking to lose weight by liming gluten, it’s really not the best approach to take.
According to the dietician Jessica Fishman Levinson, those who think they have sensitivity are often wrong. When it comes to side effects with gluten:
“it could even be a placebo effect, which some studies have actually showed”
She also adds that:
“I do not believe there is a benefit to eating gluten-free”
“many people think gluten-free food is healthier… but that is not always the case”
People also often think eating gluten will increase weight. The issue is that this isn’t necessarily true. Foods with gluten are actually healthy and filling such as oatmeal. Therefore, liming gluten isn’t necessary and has no direct influence on weight loss.
Those with celiac disease will gain weight if they eat thee types of foods, but since only 1% of the population has this issue, most don’t able to avoid gluten.
Gluten.org, a website which provides quality information to those looking for a gluten free diet also mentions that:
“sometimes promoted as a way to los weight… These claims are unfounded”
“presence of absence of gluten alone is not related to diet quality”
The reality is that you don’t have to use this diet unless you’re in the rare minority who can’t process this. Much better diet options are available that won’t restrict you from eating certain foods.
For those that can’t eat gluten, this diet is necessary. Though the people who do have issues with gluten will likely know how bad this is for them, as side effects are common.
The only way to truly know if you have an issue is to take a blood test followed by an endoscopy. This will show you whether or not your cells are damaged from the intake of gluten.
Gluten.org summarizes the gluten-free diet as really being an issue only for those in the minority:
“It’s estimated that in the US. 1 in 133 people have celiac disease”
This is such a small percentage that most people don’t have to worry about gluten. You’ll know how well your body responds after a meal with gluten. For those who are allergic, they’ll experience digestive issues, nausea, and feelings of fatigue.
For the average person there’s really no benefit to this diet. You likely won’t lose weight unless your diet is heavy on gluten and you tend to overeat. Though you might actually gain weight if you substitute with other unhealthy foods.
The Gluten-Free Diet is not essential, and it isn’t the very best diet choice for most people. There’s really no reason to want to avoid gluten unless you’re in the rare 1% of the population with an issue.
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