What Is Gluten?
Gluten is a mixture of two proteins, gliadin and glutenin, that is responsible for the elastic texture of the dough. You can find gluten in wheat, rye, and barley, but it can also be found in ice cream and ketchup.
Why A Gluten-Free Diet?
Gluten-free diets are typically followed by people suffering from celiac disease, a condition that causes a negative reaction to gluten and results in damage to the intestines. This damage can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
In recent years, gluten-free diets have become more popular for weight-loss plans, although a gluten-free diet isn’t necessarily healthier. If you aren’t dealing with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, you might be better off grabbing a variety of high-fiber carbs, lean proteins, fruits and veggies, and healthy fats. Whole-wheat bread is packed with fiber, which could lower cholesterol and improve digestive health.
By eliminating gluten from your diet, you might greatly reduce carbohydrate intake due to lack of education on nutrients, create digestive issues and possibly gain weight as gluten-free products often contain higher levels of fat and sugar. Weight gain might occur as the intestinal track clears, recovers and begins to absorb nutrients properly. However, eliminating too many foods for fear of a negative reaction might lead to weight loss and a nutrient deficient diet.
If you do have a gluten intolerance or sensitivity, your intestinal tract may be inflamed and not eating gluten can help reverse this damage. Eliminating gluten will introduce higher quality grains, like quinoa, into your diet, encourage label reading and food awareness, and may lead to a healthier diet filled with less processed foods.
The bottom line is: Go see your doctor if you believe you have a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. Don’t go gluten-free without checking with your doctor first. Going gluten-free before being diagnosed can also skew the results of the blood test used to diagnose celiac disease.