Monday, June 27, 2022

5 Myths About the Gluten-Free Diet

There are a lot of people who choose to go gluten-free, which means that they eliminate foods that contain gluten from their diet. Gluten is essentially a protein that is found in a variety of foods such as wheat, barely, rye, and other types of grains. People who have certain diseases such as Celiac Disease or are intolerant to gluten might decide to go onto a gluten-free diet or people could just be going on this diet to help them lose weight. While gluten-free diets have become a fad in the past few years, there are a lot of things about this diet that are wrong and it leads to people being misinformed about what a gluten-free diet is. If you are thinking about getting onto a gluten-free diet to help with your medical condition or just because, then here are some myths that you might encounter while reading up on this diet, and what the truth of the matter really is.


Gluten-Free is Healthier- When you are thinking about going on a gluten-free diet, you need to remember one thing, which is that gluten is often naturally found in foods. A lot of people believe that going gluten-free means you are going healthier, but actually you could be ingesting more harmful ingredients than you realize. When a company makes a gluten-free product, they have to change out the gluten for another ingredient, and since gluten helps give food elasticity and chewiness, the foods have to be made with other products besides wheat flour. Some companies choose to add more sugars and fats into their product to make up for the lack of wheat flour and other grains, and this basically means you are just ingesting more sugars and fats into your diet than if you would have eaten the gluten-included product to begin with. It is very important to read the labels on gluten-free products, because you might not be getting a healthier option, and you might end up adding weight onto your body without realizing it.

Gluten-Free Means No Gluten– Another common misconception people have is that they think gluten-free products actually contain no gluten, and this is just not true. Since gluten is needed for elasticity and texture, and since gluten is basically a wheat, there is almost a zero percent chance the product contains absolutely no gluten in it. The gluten found in gluten-free products might not be very much, but it’s definitely going to still be in there to a minor degree, and if not then you wind up with the problem talked about above with the added fats and sugars. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration has a range that products have to be if they want to be labeled gluten-free, and people with Celiac Disease need to eat products with less than 20 parts per million. Most tests will show if a product contains as low as 3 to 5 parts per million, since it’s almost impossible to make a test that could detect less than that. The truth of the matter is that most gluten-free foods contain small amounts of gluten, much less than normal gluten foods, but don’t sit there and think that gluten-free is really 100 percent free of gluten.

Gluten-Free Diet Helps You Lose Weight– A very common myth about a gluten-free diet is that it will help you lose weight, which often gets tossed around because gluten is found in wheat and a lot of wheat products are heavy in carbohydrates. This is just not really a fact though, because there has been zero evidence that shows a gluten-free diet will help you lose weight, and gluten-free diets are basically only beneficial to people who have a gluten sensitivity or have a condition that requires little gluten. When you talk about foods and diet, whether or not a product has gluten in it is not indicative of whether or not the food or diet is healthy. You need to look at the quality of the food in terms of whether or not it’s healthy, and not look at whether the product contains gluten or not because this has nothing to do with health or losing weight. Just like with the added sugars and fats fact above, if you eat gluten-free products that are higher in sugars and fats, you will end up gaining weight and not losing weight because the foods are substituting gluten with other more harmful and unhealthy ingredients.

Going Gluten-Free Helps Stomach Issues- Since there are people who have a gluten allergy or sensitivity, it is possible to get relief by going gluten-free. The issue is that only people with medical issues such as Celiac Disease or sensitivity to gluten will notice their stomach and digestive system is better by going gluten-free. 35 percent of people surveyed in one study did say going gluten-free helped with their digestive system and stomach problems, but these people did have stomach issues and gluten sensitivity or Celiac Disease, and this does not represent the everyday normal population. If you are not intolerant to the gluten then you will likely not notice a better digestive system, and if you are eating gluten-free products with more fat and sugar, it could actually make your stomach issues worse and lead to more upset stomachs.

Gluten-Free Is a Better Diet- While this myth is similar to gluten-free being healthier, there is a small difference when it comes to this myth of it being a better diet. The truth of the matter is that a lot of gluten-free foods lack nutrients that you need to be healthy, including folic acid. Folic acid is one of the main nutrients that you need as a woman if you are trying to get pregnant or want to get pregnant, and it’s important for women to have if they are indeed pregnant, especially during the first trimester. A lot of young women are going on the gluten-free diet, which does not make sense when this is the group of women who are more likely to want to get pregnant or are more likely to get pregnant. Going gluten-free might sound like a good idea, but it’s not a better diet because you lose nutrients you need to have a healthy diet and maintain a balance of vitamins and minerals that you need for reproductive health too. It’s important for women especially to take a vitamin if they are going on the gluten-free diet because you will end up not getting the vitamins and minerals you need, and this can cause health problems later on in life.

Jeanne Rose
Jeanne Rose lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, and has been a freelance writer since 2010. She took Allied Health in vocational school where she earned her CNA/PCA, and worked in a hospital for 3 years. Jeanne enjoys writing about science, health, politics, business, and other topics as well.


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