Does Gluten-Free = Healthier?


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gluten free.jpg It seems like gluten-free foods are the health fad of the year. But does a gluten-free label automatically deem something as healthy? For starters, gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, barley, and rye. Approximately 1% of the population suffers from Celiac disease, which is an autoimmune intestinal disease that is caused directly by gluten. Additionally, many people are gluten intolerant. They have similar symptoms to those with Celiac disease, but they do not actually have the disease. Celiac disease can be diagnosed by testing the blood for a presence of intestine-attacking antibodies, which are activated by gluten. So what exactly does it mean to have a gluten-free diet? Gluten is present in many commonly used ingredients, including barley, cereal binding, filler, malt, malt extract, malt flavoring, malt syrup, rye, wheat, wheat bran, wheat germ, wheat starch, and many more. Often, oats are not labeled as gluten-free simply because they could have been contaminated by gluten. Luckily, those with Celiac's and gluten intolerance do not have to give up whole grains entirely. Brown rice, wild rice, and quinoa are just a few examples of healthy grains that are naturally gluten-free. Although it is a widespread belief that a gluten-free diet is automatically a healthy one. This is far from true. Many gluten-free products are loaded with sugar and fat to replace the texture and flavors that come with gluten. Also, wheat products can offer certain vitamins like iron, and vitamins B and D, so it is important for those with gluten-free diets to monitor their vitamin intake. The gluten-free diet fad is similar to that of a vegan lifestyle; it's what you make of it. Both can be healthy alternatives, or they can consist mainly of junk food. Therefore, if you choose to go gluten-free in hopes of a healthier lifestyle, make sure you stock up on plenty of fruits, vegetables, and grains. It is necessary to look at the pros and cons of this new "fad", and to speak with a certified dietician before making a decision to completely alter you diet. After learning about the gluten-free lifestyle, would you consider going gluten-free for health benefits?

1 Comment

I thought that this post was really interesting. My mom is crazy when it comes to health food so she's been trying to go on a gluten free diet for a while so I liked when you said it wasn't always good to be entirely gluten free. One of my friends actually quit eating gluten in an attempt to lose weight when she was younger and after going without it for so long, she became intolerant. Here's a very mislead conversation from This Is The End about gluten: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLc2hDHVHgo

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