There has been a recent interest in becoming gluten-free, but is it the healthiest or best option for you? Gluten is a protein complex found in wheat, barley, rye and triticale. Gluten itself offers little nutritious value, but the foods which contain gluten offer a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and fiber essential for a healthy diet.
The main cause of going gluten-free is Celiac Disease. Celiac Disease is an abnormal immune response to gluten that causes inflammation of the small intestine and affects approximately 1% of the American population. People suffering from Celiac Disease have trouble absorbing important nutrients due to the intestinal inflammation. The only way to discover if you have Celiac Disease is to be tested. If you are diagnosed with Celiac Disease, a gluten-free diet can help reduce the inflammation so that your body may benefit from the vital nutrients in your diet.
There are many people without Celiac Disease, who are trying to go gluten-free. When you adopt a gluten-free diet, you must make a lifestyle change that is, at many times, hard to adhere to. Although many think that a gluten-free diet is healthier, that is not always the case. It is recommended that 50% of your carbohydrates come from sources, such as whole grains, that contain gluten. In turn, there are many risks associated with a gluten-free diet if you do not need to be. For instance, many gluten-free products are low in B-vitamins, calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium and fiber compared to their gluten-containing counterparts. Furthermore, gluten-free products are more expensive.
Gluten-free or not, any diet should be high in lean meats, fruits, veggies, and low-fat dairy products. To learn more about gluten-free diets and celiac disease, try reading…
- Grain Brain by David Perlmutter
- Gluten-Free Diet: What’s allowed, what’s not http://www.mayoclinic.org/gluten-free-diet/art-20048530