It’s been one of the hot topics in the health and wellness industry for the last decade and gluten free goods now adorn supermarket shelves. What was once a niche market has become mainstream. So what are the facts?
Gluten is a protein contained in wheat, barley, oats and rye. It helps food maintain its shape by acting as a sort of glue that holds food together.
Going gluten-free is a big diet trend, however unless you have coeliac disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or gluten intolerance, there’s no reason to avoid gluten as the benefits of a gluten-free diet are not guaranteed for everyone.
A gluten-free diet isn’t necessarily healthier and won’t always contribute to weight loss. Many gluten-free products have extra sugar and calories in them in an attempt to give these foods a starchy, bulky taste and texture.
The bottom line is that whether a gluten-free diet is healthy depends on which gluten-free foods you choose, how often you eat them and whether your other food choices are healthy ones. In general a diet free of refined grains and processed foods is healthier and eliminating your white bread, snack foods, biscuits and sauces for the sake of gluten free eating may leave you with a diet that is rich in protein, vegetables and fruit. Just be sure you’re not reaching for packaged gluten-free options.
For those suffering from conditions such as Coeliac and IBS, eliminating gluten will improve health and well-being with benefits including reduced bloating, a happy bowel, reduced inflammation, improved energy levels and improved metabolism.
So if you don’t have specific gluten-affected conditions? The choice is yours. The simple answer is…there is no simple answer. Our bodies and minds all react differently to various food, medicines and treatments. Whilst there is no evidence supporting a gluten-free diet where there is no medical reason to follow one, if you choose to adopt this way of eating, just be sure your alternative gluten food choices are healthy ones.