5 Gluten Facts And Myths Busted
Gluten-free diets have increasingly become a favoured go-to for possible weight loss and a healthy eating lifestyle. Go to most larger supermarkets nowadays and you will probably find a complete section of gluten-free items thus providing many companies with an additional marketing slant by highlighting the gluten-free aspect of their products.
But just how much is known about the gluten-free diet and lifestyle? Many assumptions are made and some information provided is not factual, which potentially causes more harm than healthy outcomes.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the gluten facts and myths of the gluten-free agenda.
We hope you find our list of 5 Gluten Facts and Myths Busted a useful guide.
1. Myth: Weight Loss
Gluten-free products are appreciated for their assumed possibility of helping people with their weight loss journey. This is, however, a myth as there is no official study that specifically links the presence of gluten in a meal to weight gain.
Foods such as pasta, bread, baked goods might be eliminated in a diet because of the presence of gluten and are labelled as weight gainers. The truth is that it is not about the amount of gluten that is in a meal, but the contents of the meal that add to the weight. If one consumes large portions of pasta and several slices of bread throughout the day, it is not the gluten that is responsible for weight gain, but the quantity and quality of carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are an essential part of a healthy diet, but as well as avoiding excessive quantities, it is possibly even more important to understand the different types of carbs. We should avoid simple carbs such as processed white bread and focus on complex carbs such a wholemeal bread. Carbohydrates are made up of fibre, starch, and sugar. Fibre and starch form complex carbs while sugar is a simple carb.
To maintain a healthy weight, we need to eat a healthy diet which contains all the nutrients we need. We need to avoid processed foods as much as possible and think about the best cooking methods such as steaming and grilling.
And of course, the benefits of regular physical activity, which can include lifestyle activities such as dancing and gardening (we don’t all need to be gym bunnies!), as well as good sleep patterns, should not be underestimated for general health and specifically for losing weight.
2. Myth: Gluten Adds Protein
Some might avoid foods that contain gluten fearing that these foods add more protein than required in a meal.
Gluten is a protein naturally found in some grains such as wheat and it acts like a binder, holding food together and adding a ‘stretchy’ quality. As such, it has minimal impact in terms of the protein value of a meal.
The reason for the confusion may be that wheat gluten is used to make seitan which is a high-protein, low-carb alternative to animal protein and a popular vegan substitute for meat.
However, seitan is gluten in a very concentrated form and therefore totally different from the small amounts of diagnosing gluten sensitivity
gluten naturally found in grains etc.
3. Myth: Gluten Should Be Eliminated To Avoid Sensitivity
Symptoms of gluten sensitivity and intolerance may include bloating, numbness, and constipation after eating foods that contain gluten. Because of the hype about gluten-free diets, this often results in people making quite drastic changes to their diet. If they genuinely have a sensitivity they may feel better when they do so, but a larger percentage of people will gain no significant health benefit and will be paying more for products labelled gluten-free – and also possibly deprive themselves of essential nutrients.
It is important to remember that bloating and constipation could also be symptoms of other illnesses.
Gluten sensitivity can only be ruled out after having tested for other medical conditions that may be causing the reported symptoms. One might be tempted to eliminate gluten from one’s diet only to realise that the symptoms are indicative of other underlying conditions that are not gluten related.
4. Fact: Gluten-Free Diets Are For People With Coeliac Disease
Coeliac disease is the condition whereby the small intestines are hypersensitive to gluten.
Coeliac disease is not a food intolerance or sensitivity, it is an autoimmune disease.
Even small amounts of gluten can cause a coeliac’s immune system to attack its own tissues causing damage to the gut lining and preventing the body from properly absorbing nutrients. leading to intense difficulty in digesting.
Symptoms of coeliac disease include tingling sensation throughout the body, numbness, osteoporosis, inexplicable infertility, constipation, and diarrhoea.
Coeliac disease needs to be medically diagnosed and there is no treatment other than a very strict gluten-free diet. Supplements are often recommended to ensure optimum levels of nutrition are maintained as various foods are eliminated from the diet.
Coeliac’s may find gentle complementary therapies help them relax, which is very good for the whole digestive system, but these therapies cannot treat the condition.
If you suspect that you suffer from coeliac disease, it is important to consult your medical practitioner for diagnosis and guidance before eliminating gluten from your diet. Tests for coeliac disease are ineffective if gluten has already been removed from the diet.
5. Fact: Only A Small Population Is Diagnosed
Only 1 in 133 Americans have been diagnosed with coeliac disease.
Similarly, the NHS suggests that at least 1 in every 100 people in the UK are affected by the disease but many cases go undiagnosed or are misdiagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome.
GLUTEN FACTS AND MYTHS CONCLUSION
There are various diets that one can start for intended weight loss, but a gluten-free diet should never be adopted purely for that reason.
There is no diagnosis for gluten sensitivity, meaning that if you experience bloating, numbness, constipation, and tingling, you might be suffering symptoms of other possible diseases. You are not advised to eliminate gluten from your diet without medical guidance as you may cause more harm and will also make it difficult to obtain a full medical diagnosis in order to get to the root cause of the problem.
For the best health outcomes and diets, make sure to familiarise yourself with information about gluten-free diets from recommended and reputable sources before self-diagnosing and self-treating.