Gluten is often a subject of debate. Most sources assert that people are safe to consume gluten except those with celiac disease.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that impairs nutrition absorption and hinders the digestion of gluten. The symptoms of celiac disease could be reduced with a gluten-free diet.
However, many people avoid gluten even if they do not have celiac disease or any illness that needs to prevent.
For non-medical reasons, people might avoid gluten if they want to become more focused, lose weight, feel less bloated, or have more energy, all potential advantages which health experts often promote.
In this article, we will be looking at all about gluten-free diets.
What Is Gluten?
A family of proteins, commonly known as gluten, is present in spelled barley, wheat, and rye. Its name derives from the Latin word gluten because, when combined with water, it gives the flour a gel-like consistency.
Gluten’s capacity to act as an adhesion molecule aids in the formation of the gel-like network, which enables bread to rise when baked. It also imparts a pleasant and chewy texture to the bread.
However, unfortunately, a lot of people experience discomfort after consuming gluten-containing meals. Those with celiac disease can often have more uncomfortable reactions.
An autoimmune illness known as the celiac disease causes the body to injure itself unintentionally. Up to 2% of people have celiac disease, which might harm the intestines.
It is advisable to let your doctor or nutritionist know if consuming a gluten diet causes you any discomfort.
What Is A Gluten-Free Diet?
A GFD (Gluten-Free Diet) is a dietary strategy that forbids the consumption of gluten, a protein combination found in wheat and all of its hybrids and species, including triticale, Kamut, and spelled, as well as in oats, rye, and barley.
The inclusion of oats in a gluten-free diet is debatable and might be influenced by the regular and cultivar cross-contamination with different cereals containing gluten.
For people having gluten-related illnesses like DH (dermatitis herpetiformis), NCGS (non-coeliac gluten sensitivity), CD (coeliac disease), wheat allergy, and gluten ataxia, gluten could induce both systemic and gastrointestinal symptoms.
The gluten-free diet is a successful treatment for these individuals; however, as per multiple studies, even following a gluten-free diet, 80 percent of celiac disease patients do not fully restore the function of the small intestine.
The main cause of this could be the unintentional consumption of gluten. People who do not understand the gluten-free diet will often assume that they are adhering to the diet while regularly breaking it.
Benefits Of Gluten-Free Diet
Here are some benefits of a gluten-free diet:
Might Alleviate Digestive Symptoms
Most individuals consume a gluten-free diet to cure stomach issues. These might include bloating, gas, exhaustion, diarrhea, constipation, and numerous different symptoms.
People with non-celiac sensitivity to gluten and celiac disease might find their digestive symptoms improve by consumption of a gluten-free diet, according to studies.
In a study, 216 celiac disease patients consumed no gluten for 6 months. The diet considerably lessened the intensity of motion sickness, diarrhea, and different symptoms.
Might Reduce Inflammation
An infection is healed and cured via the body’s natural inflammation process. Inflammation could sometimes outgrow its control and persist for a long time.
This is referred to as chronic inflammation, which might result in several health issues among individuals. Those with celiac disease could experience less chronic inflammation if they follow a gluten-free diet.
A gluten-free diet is shown in numerous studies to lower antibody levels, which is an inflammatory indicator. It might also assist in treating intestinal damage of celiac disease patients’ brought on by gluten-linked inflammation.
Lower amounts of inflammation might also be seen in people with non-celiac sensitivity to gluten. It is unclear, though, whether a gluten-free diet might help these individuals to experience less inflammation.
Here is a governmental study on the same matter.
Might Boost Energy
People with celiac disease often have brain fog and feel lethargic or exhausted. Because of gut damage, these symptoms might be brought on by nutritional inadequacies.
For instance, a lack of iron could cause anemia, a common celiac disease symptom.
If a person has celiac disease, becoming gluten-free might help them prevent sluggishness and fatigue and feel more energized.
Might Aid In Weight Loss
When you start a gluten-free diet, it is common for you to lose weight. This is because a lot of unhealthy junk foods which add extra calories to your diet are eliminated.
Lean proteins, vegetables, and fruits are commonly used in place of these unhealthy junk foods. However, staying away from store-bought gluten-free meals, such as snacks, pastries, and cakes, is crucial.
This is because they might quickly increase your diet’s calorie intake. It would help if you ate a lot of different wholes, and freshly produced lean proteins.
This has been acknowledged in this governmental research as well.
Risks Of Gluten-Free Diet
Here are some risks associated with a gluten-free diet:
Several nutritional deficits could occur in people having celiac disease. Deficiencies in vitamin B12, iron, fiber, folate, zinc, calcium, and vitamins E, A, K, and D, among many nutrients, are among these, according to research.
Researchers have also shown that avoiding gluten might not be an excellent way to alleviate nutritional shortages.
Individuals following a gluten-free diet favor store-bought goods marked as gluten-free over wholesome nutritional meals like vegetables and fruits.
Furthermore, several gluten-free meal products do not have vitamin B, say folate added to them.
People adhering to a gluten-free diet might be at risk of vitamin B deficiency as enriched bread is an excellent source of vitamin B. Pregnant women need to be especially concerned regarding this.
Absence Of Fiber
Numerous gluten-containing foods are high in fiber. When eating a gluten-free diet, it is crucial to receive fiber from different sources like gluten-free whole grains, lentils, beans, seeds, and nuts.
According to a review in 2018, avoiding gluten could result in a person eating fewer grains, which might increase their risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
A common adverse effect of a gluten-free diet is constipation. A diet that is high in fiber might support smooth and regular bowel motions.
Common sources of fiber like bran, bread, and different wheat-based items, are eliminated from gluten-free diets. Therefore, constipation is a common problem.
Additionally, several wheat-based food items that are replacements for gluten are poor in their fiber content.
This might be another factor contributing to the constipation problem among people following a gluten-free diet.
You should eat additional fiber-rich vegetables and fruits, such as berries, beans, lentils, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli, if you develop constipation while following a gluten-free diet.
The health benefits of a gluten-free diet among individuals who do not have a gluten intolerance like non-celiac sensitivity to gluten or celiac disease are not well supported by research, despite the current trends.
The only effective way to treat celiac disease is to follow a gluten-free diet. A person must get enough nutrients from different dietary sources when eliminating gluten sources from their diet.
For the most part, the consumption of gluten has no detrimental effects. But as it might have negative effects on people having gluten sensitivity and celiac disease, they should avoid it.
Although a gluten-free diet is limited, there are many healthy and flavorful alternatives. However, make sure to consume a lot of one-ingredient foods like lean protein sources, vegetables, and fruits.
They shall help you to satisfy your stomach and maintain ideal health. A gluten-free diet could also provide several health advantages.
It might aid in weight loss, lessen inflammation, improve energy levels, and soothe digestive issues.
Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies.
- Linda J. Vorvick, David Zieve, Brenda Conaway, et al. Learn about gluten-free diets. Date of Publication: 8/13/2020. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000813.htm
- Benjamin Niland and Brooks D. Cash. Health Benefits and Adverse Effects of a Gluten-Free Diet in Non–Celiac Disease Patients. Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). 2018 Feb; 14(2): 82–91.
- Ewa B. Posner1 and Muhammad Haseeb. Celiac Disease. Date of publication: May 15, 2022. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK441900/
- Joseph A Murray, Tureka Watson, Beverlee Clearman, et al. Effect of a gluten-free diet on gastrointestinal symptoms in celiac disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Apr;79(4):669-73.doi: 10.1093/ajcn/79.4.669.
- G Midhagen, A-K Aberg, P Olcén, G Järnerot, et al. Antibody levels in adult patients with coeliac disease during gluten-free diet: a rapid initial decrease of clinical importance. J Intern Med. 2004 Dec;256(6):519-24. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2796.2004.01406.x.
- Giorgia Vici, Luca Belli, Massimiliano Biondi, et al. Gluten free diet and nutrient deficiencies: A review. Clin Nutr. 2016 Dec;35(6):1236-1241. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2016.05.002. Epub 2016 May 7.
- Susan H Barton, Darlene G Kelly, Joseph A Murray, et al. Nutritional deficiencies in celiac disease. Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2007 Mar;36(1):93-108, vi. doi: 10.1016/j.gtc.2007.01.006.
- Amir Sadeghi, Shabnam Shahrokh, and Mohammad Reza Zali. An unusual cause of constipation in a patient without any underlying disorders. Gastroenterol Hepatol Bed Bench. 2015 Spring; 8(2): 167–170.
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Louise Rodriguez is a full-time health and fitness writer. She considers herself a gym rat and takes pride in showing her biceps. She dedicates most of her time to her health. With the time left, she spreads information regarding health and fitness among the masses. Harry Potter is her first love.