Gluten Free Diet Advantages And Disadvantages

Gluten free diet is mainly recommended for the people who are sensitive to gluten or suffer from celiac disease. In this condition some people become allergic to gluten and celiac disease which may cause damage to their intestines. For other conditions, allergies and even behavioral problems in children, a gluten free diet may be recommended. Although there are many benefits, it may have certain risks too, particularly if you overdo it. Know the gluten free diet advantages and disadvantages to plan an appropriately balanced diet.

Gluten Free Diet

Gluten is a type of protein which is mostly found in grains such as barley, rye, wheat etc. It is also found in some of the foods like ketchup and ice cream. It is also used to make bread products chewy and provides them the elastic quality which is extremely essential to bake goods. It is the only protein which makes the food completely indigestible. Gluten particles can easily slip into the intestine lining and also possibly cause inflammation in the intestine which is also part of celiac disease.

Many recent studies suggest gluten free diet for weight loss and other inflammatory conditions. While this may be useful for some, gluten free diet and the products can affect some people in a different way. As the preparation of certain foods varies, even gluten free products can be harmful. Hence, it is important to understand the pros and cons of gluten free diet and plan a healthy diet plan. Here are some of the gluten free diet advantages and disadvantages.

Gluten Free Diet Advantages And Disadvantages

Gluten Free Diet Advantages

Consuming gluten free diet also depends on the sensitivity of body to tolerate gluten. Gluten tolerance and sensitivity levels vary from person to person. Here are some of the gluten free diet advantages.

Eating gluten free diet can be beneficial to those who are suffering from gastrointestinal disorders which are also known as irritable bowel syndrome. Gluten free diet is also part of FODMAP diet (Fermentable oligosaccharides Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols).

There are various types of starch and sugars found in the gluten grains such as rye, barley and wheat. These substances in gluten rich foods can be easily fermented by bacteria inside intestine which can also cause cramping, bloating and diarrhea. This is where gluten free diet helps and is considered as one of the best gluten free advantages.

  • Gluten free diet can be important for people who are sensitive to gluten and those who are suffering from celiac diseases.
  • In most cases, if a person possess sensitivity and tolerance it can cause damage to intestinal tract. Gluten free diet can reverse the inflammation and damage, which is one of the greatest gluten free diet advantages.
  • Gluten rich diet also encourages label reading and also spreads awareness about the food consumption. One can be more careful about gluten free diet and know more about the food types available as an alternate.
  • It also helps in leading healthier lifestyle as with gluten free diet; one can consume less processed foods compared to other type of foods.
  • It also results into introduction of high quality grains such as quinoa into your diet; thus helping you redefine your dietary choices.
  • Most of these healthy changes and avoidance of processed foods in gluten free diet, can also help you lose weight and improve your health.
  • In some of the researches conducted, it has been found that gluten free diet can help in improvement of social and behavioral skills along with learning in people who are suffering from autism. In another study, it also has some conflicting findings as well but there is also benefits associated with use of gluten free diet.

Gluten Free Diet Disadvantages

Gluten free diet is also considered to be a fad diet. In some cases, it has been found that gluten free diet may not be as healthy as it seems. Gluten free foods are gaining popularity. One of the biggest disadvantages of gluten free diet is that your body misses out on what is known as balanced diet. In order to stay healthy, it is important to complete your body with all the essential vitamins and minerals obtained from wheat based counterparts.

  • Gluten free diet is processed and refined foods which makes them protein free as well. It can be seriously short of various essential nutrients such as iron, fiber, riboflavin, calcium, vitamin B12, phosphorous, zinc, phosphate, niacin, thiamine, folate etc.
  • Many people think that consuming gluten free diet is much healthier option as it is lower in fat and calories but it is not always the same case. Gluten intolerance is one of the key things, which needs strict restriction, but if you don’t have intolerance, it is fine to go ahead with gluten diet, as a part of a balanced diet.
  • Due to the popularity of gluten free diet, many gluten free products such as energy bars, pastries etc. came into picture. The gluten free replacements are not actually free from gluten but can cause other deficiencies and even allergies.
  • In fact, some also face difficulties with weight management due to other ingredients present in gluten free products. Also, some find it a habit forming problem, which is difficult to deal and can cause more digestive problems on consumption of even small amounts of gluten.

Just like any other problem, there can be various disadvantages of gluten free diet. Reduced intake of carbs can be due to lack of education or awareness about gluten free diet. Not all carbohydrates have gluten and it is important to be clear about which products contain gluten. Possible weight gain is also there as the intestinal track recovers and starts absorbing nutrients in better ways. It can also cause weight gain in some levels due to high levels of fat and sugar.

Hence, it is necessary to understand that gluten free diet may be absolutely necessary for some people, as a part of treatment for their ailments. It should be based on medical advice and must be followed only as per the instructions. But for otherwise healthy people, it is best to take healthy, balanced and nutritious meals to avoid health and nutritional problems. Right diet, regular exercise and healthy lifestyle can be more helpful in weight management and disease prevention.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 23, 2017

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