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Nibbles for Thought: The Gluten-Free Obsession

gluten7#GlutenFree #NoGluten and the hash tags go on! This gluten free phenomenon is on the rise, where people seem to believe that cutting out gluten is another answer to their diet woos. For those who are quite new to the latest diet trend, gluten is a protein found in wheat and related grain species such as barley, rye and triticale. Many celebrities have sworn off gluten, building up endless followers and a # craze of GF! So who should really avoid gluten?

People suffering from coeliac disease, are unable to absorb gluten, where the only treatment is to follow a gluten free diet which is life-long. Symptoms vary from person to person and can include: diarrhoea, gas, constipation,  nausea, vomiting, or even a  combination of iron, vitamin B12 or folic acid deficiency and weight loss. Some symptoms may also be mistaken for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or wheat intolerance so those conditions would also need ruling out by the appropriate specialist. 

Wheat intolerance is usually considered as  a non-allergic negative reaction to eating wheat. Symptoms are usually hard to diagnose as they can occur many hours or even a couple of days after consuming wheat. Some people are able to build up a mild tolerance in time, however, to avoid symptoms from occurring over and over again, going on a gluten-free diet could be advised. 

are_gluten_free_foods_healthyNow, people who are embarking on a gluten-free diet for non-medically justified reasons appear to be using it as a so called cleansing diet or simply another fad diet to lose weight, but truth is, gluten free diets are definitely not the answer for weight loss! Many have reported weight gain after switching to a gluten-free diet and that is because a large number of commercially prepared gluten-free products are high in sugar and fat, in order to get the right texture and taste. Some gluten-free products are also quite low in fibre, vitamins and minerals so gluten-free doesn’t always cry out Healthy.

Being someone with a non-coeliac gluten sensitivity and IBS, I fail to understand why many might choose to cut out gluten when there’s an endless array of healthy choices such as multigrain breads and oats that they can include daily and still be healthy and control their weight. I do believe that people cut out gluten for the wrong reasons, and by doing so, are doing more harm than good to their diet, and in some circumstances, their weight! 

For people who do choose to go gluten-free, I would ask that you ensure your diet is nutritionally adequate. Avoid relying461de0b53c4eaaa1_gluten-free-aisle.preview on commercially prepared gluten-free products and try to make your own using nutritious wholegrain alternatives such as quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat and millet. Remember than not all products labeled as “Gluten-Free” are necessarily healthy!  

If you do have any doubts, don’t hesitate to share your thoughts or even send an email to info@nutrition-az.com to discuss your situation further. 

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