BURGERS TO BEASTS by Kripa Jalan

Sustainable Nutrition

Should You Go Gluten-Free?

Written By: Kripa Jalan
20-Nov-2021

Should You Go Gluten-Free?

A few years ago, nobody knew what Gluten was. Most people probably couldn’t spell it. Okay, that’s a bit of an over-exaggeration.

Today, Gluten-free diets and products are all the rage. 

But are Celiacs ** the only people who should avoid Gluten? Let’s take a look.

What is gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in some grains, especially wheat. 

It’s also found in:

  • Barley
  • Bulgur
  • Rye
  • Spelt
  • Oats (possibly)
  • Semolina

It adds elasticity to dough – which is why regular breads and bagels tend to be chewy, but their gluten-free counterparts tend to be “dry”.

What are some Gluten-Free food items?

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Nuts
  • Legumes
  • Rice
  • Millets

You probably notice that these are real, unprocessed, single-ingredient foods. Which is why they’re pretty much always considered nutritious. Not because they’re Gluten-free. That’s just a bonus.

Gluten-Free = Healthy = Weight Loss Aid?

Just because something is “gluten-free” DOES NOT make it healthy. Going gluten-free might help you lose weight, but depending on HOW you go gluten-free, you might actually gain weight and get even unhealthier.

If you go “gluten-free” by simply just switching your diet to “gluten-free bread and cookies, ” you have made no real dietary changes and have not really improved your nutrient intake.

Don’t be fooled: Gluten-free cookies are still cookies. They may not contain Gluten, but could be pumped with other problematic ingredients that do little to support your wellbeing!

So, why did Gluten get such a bad reputation?

Gluten intolerance is the most common food sensitivity disease of the intestine. 

Initially, gluten intolerance can appear as diarrhea, bloating, flatulence, or even uncomfortable stools. Other inflammatory symptoms can also manifest.

Then, there’s Celiac disease. Which is a genetic, autoimmune digestive disease that damages the villi of the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food.  Ultimately, your body turns on itself when dealing with gluten, and your white blood cells attack and can destroy the lining of your small intestine, leading to the lack of absorption of nutrients from your food.

Yikes!

Right now, you may be reading this and thinking, I feel bloated and like crap all day! Am I sensitive to Gluten?

Maybe. Maybe not.

Now what?

If you are looking to eat a gluten-free lifestyle, focus on eating more real foods than processed substitutes!

If you are intolerant, regularly consuming Gluten can result in long-term damage, including intestinal scarring and nutrient malabsorption.

If you aren’t intolerant, it may still be beneficial to rotate your grains to the best of your abilities. This will prevent the development of a sensitivity and simultaneously diversify your nutrient intake. Still, including some grains with Gluten is probably fine for most people who aren’t allergic or intolerant!