Why is Gluten so bad? Or is it?
Everyone seems to be gluten-free these days. It seems fashionable to be termed gluten free.
Many people report feeling fantastic and energised. But are they feeling great due to avoiding gluten? Or is it the fact they’re avoiding junk food, which contain it.
Avoiding will inevitably cause people to eat more healthily as we’ll be eating more vegetables and healthier alternatives. After all, there’s not much more we can eat.
But should we be all be avoiding it? I’m not sure we should.
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Does a gluten-free diet help with weight loss
Often people equate gluten-free as being carb or grain free. For some people (myself included) adopting a low carb diet and lowering consumption of grains is a good thing. As it’s done to manage health conditions.
But for many, avoiding gluten is done in the hope of losing a few pounds. Usually buying products touted as low carb or grain free. But they’re not fat-free or sugar-free. In fact, these products often contain more fat and sugar to allow these foods to taste better. Which I agree is probably needed. Have you tried gluten-free bread? It not the tastiest!!
Unfortunately, the additional fat and sugar can lead to weight gain instead of weight loss. Not what we want!!
Gluten is a protein that is found in grains (wheat, barley and rye). Oats don’t contain it, although due to manufacturing, it may contain sources of it.
Other gluten-free grains are sorghum, millet, brown rice, buckwheat, wild rice, amaranth, quinoa, corn (polenta) and teff. These grains are less known by many so may not form a part of many peoples diet. Over the last few years, quinoa
has become more popular as a protein and fibre source, so this is used a lot as an alternative type of grain. It’s a great source of fibre and protein, and carbohydrates too.
Grains are a great source of complex carbohydrates. Giving us a source of fibre and energy. So avoiding grains means we lose out on good sources of carbohydrates and key nutrients our bodies need on a daily basis.
There are, of course, people who need to avoid eating gluten. This due to gluten intolerance. Gluten for these people appear as an enemy in the body. To fight this enemy the immune system produces chemicals to fight the gluten (the enemy) during digestion. Which can appear as rashes, pain, headaches, nausea, vomiting and digestive issues like bloating, excessive gas and irritable bowel disease.
A well-known gluten intolerance disease is coeliac disease. When a coeliac sufferer eats gluten the immune system attacks their intestines causing pain and horrific deficiencies in nutrients as the damage to the gut limits absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream.
Does this mean everyone should avoid.
Not everyone should avoid it. Some of us have a hard time breaking down gluten proteins. But lots of people can cope with eating it and by not eating foods containing gluten we are reducing sources of energy, fibre, iron, vitamin B and vitamin D. These are nutrients that we need on a regular basis.
Now, I don’t eat lots of carbs due to my illnesses and grains are a part of this. I eat limited amounts of grains, limiting them but not removing them, I still eat them. I do this, due to knowing that my body doesn’t cope well with large amounts of grains, gluten and carbs. Carbs, unfortunately, plays havoc with my hormones as I have a metabolic and hormonal disease, PCOS.
Additional to this, I have Graves Disease, an autoimmune disease, and I must say that an increase in gluten foods does promote issues, this is especially noticeable in my eyes (Thyroid Eye Disease).
If you remember, earlier I mentioned coeliac disease being an autoimmune disease that damages the intestines. And like coeliac disease, other autoimmune diseases such as Graves Disease, Hashimoto’s Disease, Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis may benefit from reducing or avoiding gluten.
So if you’re an autoimmune sufferer, like me, you may benefit from reducing or totally removing it from your diet. Reducing will lower the levels of antibodies your immune system produces. As it tends to mimic antigens (foreign substances) which our overactive immune systems are constantly trying to fight. So for us, there’s a benefit.
But if it were not for my illnesses I wouldn’t remove it just to follow the latest fad. If you can tolerate it, eat it. If I could, I certainly would!!
Limiting vital grains is not what you want. You’re missing out on vital nutrients by doing so. I would eat them in a heartbeat if I could. As I miss being able to eat bread!! Ahhhh bread!!
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I’m Cheryl. I’m on a quest to help and share what I’ve learnt about nutrition, yoga, autoimmune disease, hormones and joint disease.
I’m a sufferer of the above diseases and have used yoga and nutrition to manage my illnesses. Success with my health led me to become a qualified Nutritional Therapist and Yoga Teacher.