Today, an increasing number of health food stores and grocery stores are selling gluten-free products. That is great news for individuals with celiac disease. Interestingly, however, most of the people buying gluten-free products do not suffer from this disease or even sensitivity to wheat, rather, the market for gluten-free products is blowing up because many people today perceive that a gluten-free – or, more precisely, a completely grain-free diet is better and healthier.
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That said, unless one is very careful, eating this way means that you can begin to lack essential minerals, vitamins, and fiber. Going gluten-free can be hugely beneficial; however, as with any food choices one makes, one has to take the time to consider all sides. That is why it is important to consider the advantages and disadvantages of going gluten-free before making that decision.
Gluten is a type of protein present in wheat, rye, and barley. It is also found in many whole grain foods like kamut, farro, spelt, bulgur, and triticale. Although gluten itself does not offer significant nutritional value, the many whole grains that are gluten-rich do. They are rich in a wide range of minerals and vitamins, such as iron and B vitamins, as well as fiber. In fact, studies suggest that a healthy diet containing whole grains may help lower the risk of type-2 diabetes, heart disease, and some forms of cancer.
Benefits of a Wheat-Free Diet
• Improves Digestion
Wheat does not digest easily and eating too much of it can force the intestines to work harder, which can sometimes lead to sluggish digestion and blockages. As a result, one may suffer from digestive problems such as bloating, water retention, and gas. Cutting this ingredient from your meals can ease digestive problems by giving the system a break.
• Stabilizes Blood Glucose Levels
Wheat is one of the largest contributors of glucose in the body. Therefore, eliminating these products from one’s diet may allow one to have better control over one’s blood glucose levels. For diabetics who must constantly monitor their blood glucose levels, this is especially important. Lower blood glucose levels can also go a long way in preventing obesity, gluten intolerance, and other health conditions.
• Possible Weight Loss
Adopting a grain-free diet in general may also help overweight people lose some weight and avoid gaining it back in the future. By making a conscious and dedicated decision to stop consuming it, one will also eliminate many processed foods such as pizza, white bread, burgers, crackers, pasta, and cookies, which can wreck havoc to one’s body.
• Decreased Risk of Celiac Disease
Eating a foods containing today’s wheat strain increases one’s risk of developing celiac disease. This is an autoimmune condition that can occur in genetically predisposed individuals, where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage to the small intestines.
Disadvantages of a Eliminating This Grain (and all other Grains)
• This type of diet comes with an increased risk of chronic constipation because it lacks fiber-rich foods, which help the digestive system function optimally.
• Going without whole grains can lead to a deficiency of Vitamin B, which is needed to generate energy from food, and to repair damaged tissue and cells.
• Trying to eat without including grains can also be time-consuming and tedious. It is also limiting, costly, and difficult to maintain.
Most people are adopting this way of eating hoping to detox or to drop a few pounds, or because they think they are intolerant to this food. Even a number of celebrities are on this particular band-wagon, and since they are typically in the lime-light, their advocacy gives average people more reason to stick to an eating plan devoid of pasta, bread, and other grain based foods.