Where Did This Myth Come From?
“It's just a new cool eating disorder” – Jennifer Lawrence, actress famous for her Hunger Games role, makes a very bold statement in relation to this diet.
But to an extent she is right.
It is just another craze taking the world by storm.
“No Grain No Pain” – another term that is being swung around now as often as saying “Hello”!! Now while this is true for those who suffer with adverse reactions to consuming gluten, it will be irritating for those also as their dietary needs are now the latest trend.
What Exactly Is Gluten?
Two protein groups make up gluten
Gliadin and Glutenin
These protein groups are brought together when flour and water are combined for bread and other processed foods.
They give structure and elasticity.
Many think that gluten is found in only wheat and so avoid bread products.
But gluten is found in other grains - barley and rye for instance.
It really isn't enough to just avoid bread, pasta and cake. That would be simple
To follow a true gluten-free diet you will need to avoid ALL sauces, stock cubes, sweets and a wide range of other products that contain gluten.
So What Is Coeliac Disease?
This is a serious medical condition
Those who suffer have to avoid gluten.
It is not a dietary choice.
It is a need.
Their immune system reacts adversely to gluten, damaging the lining of the small intestines.
This damage prevents vital nutrients from being absorbed.
Side effects from eating gluten can include, but are not limited to:
- Weight loss (not through choice)
Long term consequences, if gluten consumption continued due to being undiagnosed can include, but are not limited to:
- Bowel Cancer
These people must include gluten-free products into their diet to prevent them from being ill.
Yet only around 1% of the population suffers.
I’ll say that again - 1%.
One measly percent!!
Coeliac sufferers used to have to receive food products by prescription only.
You couldn't purchase foods specifically designed for the condition off the shelf.
But due to this fad craze, whereby people assume that gluten-free is healthier, the products are now available everywhere.
The worry I guess with this, is once this fad has died down and a new craze has entered the market, will these foods still be readily available for those who do actually need it?
Why We Should Eat Gluten
While gluten itself doesn't offer anything special in relation to nutritional value, the many whole grains that contain gluten do.
Products with gluten in have an array of vitamins and minerals, as well as fibre.
If you eliminate these foods, you will be at risk of not meeting your dietary requirements for your body and cells to function
This could result in nutritional deficiencies
Nutritional deficiencies lead to medical issues and health problems, not to mention the inconvenience of changing your WHOLE diet to eliminate a product that does not need eliminating.
Breads, crackers, cereals, pastas, pastries and a variety of processed foods are just some of the products that you would need to completely remove from your diet. That’s not even touching on the products that contain trace amounts of gluten either. We’re talking things like salad dressings, sauces, cereals and even deli meats or tinned goods.
Then you would have to carefully structure a plan to ensure that do not lack in the nutrients you have removed.
B vitamins. Calcium. Iron. Zinc. Magnesium and fibre are all nutrients that tend to be low in gluten-free products.
So you would need to ensure that you are getting these sources elsewhere.
It's simple …
Do not remove gluten unless you genuinely have a condition that warrants the removal.
Eating a gluten-free diet means paying constant attention to what you eat, reading food labels and ensuring that you plan accordingly to replace nutrients you are losing.
There is ZERO need for anyone to just opt for this
There is NO evidence to show it is healthier
There is NO evidence to show it aids in weight loss
With any diet, avoid any unnecessary restrictions. Food should be enjoyable. Not time consuming.
Above all, gluten is delicious!
At least, I don’t know about you – but a world without pizza, pasta and Pop Tarts is not one that I want to be a part of, when I can eat these foods every single day and still lose fat, get lean, build muscle and stay healthy.