Gluten-Free Diet May Not Be The Holy Grail Of Healthier Eating

Everyone is raving about the Gluten–free diet these days. While it may be necessary for some, a Gluten–free diet is certainly not the holy grail of healthy eating.

According to Lydia Kaume, a Nutrition and Health Education Specialist with University of Missouri Extension, a Gluten–free diet is certainly not a good option for many and should be begun only under medical supervision.

A gluten-free diet, sometimes known as the GF diet, is recommended only for individuals who have been diagnosed with Celiac disease or have a wheat allergy. Celiac disease is genetic and is diagnosed by blood tests and exams of tissue from the small intestine. Individuals diagnosed with Celiac disease have a delayed immune-mediated reaction to gluten. This results in intestinal damage and inflammation leading to poor absorption of nutrients. The prolonged inflammation damages the wall of the small intestines and may lead to weight loss (due to poor absorption of nutrients), bloating and sometimes diarrhea.

Individuals diagnosed with a wheat allergy have a different immune response when consuming wheat. Barley and rye may or may not affect persons diagnosed with a wheat allergy depending on whether or not they have been exposed to wheat, reports HPJ.

A strict gluten-free diet can help manage symptoms and prevent malnutrition that can occur when the body is deprived of vital nourishment. While Celiac disease results in gastrointestinal problems, a wheat allergy could also include skin irritation and breathing difficulties. These are the primary reasons anyone should even consider going on a gluten–free diet. However, that is unfortunately not the case.

It has somehow become common knowledge that eating gluten–free diet will help one lose weight, feel light and yet stay very healthy and active. The assumption that gluten makes one feel weary, tired or drained urges people to search for gluten–free products in supermarket aisles.

However, Kaume confirmed that actually the reverse is true. Eating gluten containing foods will offer the much needed fiber, minerals and vitamins, the body needs & craves. If consumed in their whole forms, gluten-containing grain products are generally rich in mainly fiber and B vitamins and enriched or fortified with many B vitamins, foliate, iron, magnesium, and calcium,” shared the specialist.

Promoting gluten–free products helps the food industry differentiate them and in turn allows them to make money selling products that are not really needed by consumers. Despite intervention by the FDA, the industry is thriving on the misconception and hence it is a must to get checked–up for allergies to gluten or wheat and eat healthy instead of buying into common misconceptions and urban myths.

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