Is Gluten Free Healthier?
By Paul Rothbart
One of the more recent trends in eating healthy is the gluten free diet. Most restaurants have gluten free options on their menus and supermarkets have entire sections devoted to foods that contain no gluten. But is gluten really that bad for you? Does it have any nutritional benefits? For people with a gluten allergy or celiac disease, avoiding it is a must. But would the rest of us benefit from excluding gluten from the diet? Here is the story on gluten.
What It Is
Gluten is a protein found in all types of wheat as well as barley, rye, and triticale. Gluten is what gives bread and pizza crust its chewiness. It's also part of what gives pasta its texture. Gluten can be found in many other foods besides baked goods. Gluten may also be found in soups, sauces, and salad dressing. Because of its presence in barely, gluten is often in beer, malt, and malt vinegar. So, to be completely gluten free, there are a lot of foods to avoid. Some dietary supplements, medications, cosmetics, and hygiene products contain gluten requiring careful reading of labels.
Some people are allergic to gluten and so must keep it out of their diets to avoid gastrointestinal issues. Headaches and fatigue are also symptoms of a gluten allergy. Celiac disease is an auto-immune disorder in which gluten intolerance can cause damage to the intestines. Not everyone with celiac disease will show symptoms, so extra care must be taken when consuming any food or using any product that may contain gluten. It is also possible to be merely gluten sensitive, which is not as serious as either an allergy or celiac, but can still cause intestinal distress. People who suffer from any of these conditions must refrain from gluten.
Those Who Are Not Sensitive
Although it is currently hip and considered to be healthy, people with no gluten sensitivity need not avoid the protein. While many claim that going gluten-free has made them healthier, there is not evidence to back up these assertions. In fact, cutting out gluten could lessen nutrition. Regular breads are fortified with vitamins, especially the B's. Gluten free breads are not fortified with vitamins. So for those with no gluten issues, going gluten free is unnecessary.
New discoveries in the world of diet and nutrition are being made all the time and passed to the public. Many eagerly jump on these trends in search of better health. Gluten-free is one of the latest and for those with gluten sensitivity, it is essential for good health. For the rest, while not necessary, it can certainly be tried to see you might feel healthier. Just make sure to put back those lost vitamins.
To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Dallas, Tex.