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The Truth About Gluten

By Sara Butler

Gluten is often portrayed as evil. If life were a Disney movie, then gluten would definitely wear a cape and cast evil spells over the land. While it is true that for people with celiac disease gluten is the enemy, it’s not true for everyone. Foods containing gluten can actually be good for your health, so don’t go cutting them out just yet. Here are some of the most common myths about gluten and the facts you need to know.

Myth No. 1: Foods with Gluten are Bad for Your Health

Gluten is found in grains such as rye and barley. These are whole grains with minerals, vitamins, and fiber your body needs to maintain health and wellness. There are naturally gluten-free grains out there such as buckwheat, quinoa, rice, and oats, but there’s no need to cut out the gluten unless you have a medically necessary reason to. You don’t want to take the chance that you could miss out on some serious nutrients your body needs.

Gluten is also a protein that helps foods maintain their shape. That’s why you can find gluten in some unexpected places such as in salad dressings and sauces. Cutting out gluten means cutting out a source of protein -- protein your body needs to function optimally.

Myth No. 2: A Gluten-Free Diet Aids in Weight Maintenance

Studies have found that it can be a lot harder to maintain a healthy diet if you try to cut out gluten. These studies have revealed that gluten-free foods tend to be higher in saturated fat, salt, and sugar than the same foods containing gluten. That’s because if you cut out the gluten, the taste and texture must be beefed up with ingredients that won’t help you maintain a healthy weight.

Myth No. 3: Cutting Out Gluten Improves Digestion

While this myth may be true for those with celiac disease, people without the disease who avoid gluten won’t find their digestive health improved. If you’re looking for ways to improve your digestive health, then a diet rich in lean protein, whole grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables is a much better option.

Myth No. 4: Avoiding Gluten Improves Energy Levels

There’s no evidence that eliminating gluten from your diet will boost your energy levels at all. If you cut out gluten and notice an improvement, it’s likely because you’re cutting back on foods containing added fat and sugar rather than anything to do with gluten.

Gluten isn't the bad guy, so know the facts to protect your health.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Arvada, Colo.

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