How do you know if you should avoid eating gluten?

How do you know if you should avoid eating gluten?

How do you know if you should avoid eating gluten?

In this article, we ask: “How do you know if you should avoid eating gluten?” And what should you do if you want to cut gluten from your diet?

What is gluten?

Gluten is a naturally-occurring protein found mainly in grains and wheat products. Biologically, gluten helps the wheat seed to store some of the nutrients it needs to grow into a plant. From a culinary perspective, gluten often acts as a sort of “glue” to hold foods together or to make them stretchy. (The word gluten literally means “glue” in Latin.)

Most people can tolerate gluten with no adverse effects. However, it can cause problems for people with certain health conditions, like celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, wheat allergy, and some other diseases.

Gluten intolerance

Digestive discomfort is the most common indication of gluten intolerance. The person may also have anemia or trouble gaining weight.

To figure out what is causing your discomfort, people can ask their doctor to check for celiac disease first. Celiac disease is the most severe form of gluten intolerance. It is an autoimmune disorder in which the body treats gluten as a foreign invader. The immune system attacks the gluten, as well as the lining of the gut.

This damages the gut wall and may cause nutrient deficiencies, anaemia, severe digestive issues, and an increased risk of many diseases.

There are two main ways to find out if a person has celiac disease:

  • Blood tests
  • Biopsy from small intestine

Myths about gluten

  • Eliminating gluten will heal your gut

There are lots of sugary foods that don’t have gluten. Eliminating gluten won’t eradicate all the imbalances that may or may not be happening due to sugar.

  • Eliminating gluten will make you more energised

This claim is derived from an assumption that gluten takes more energy for your body to digest, causing you to feel sluggish. But this is a myth; there are zero studies in existence that support this claim.

  • Everyone can benefit from going gluten-free

Just because some people have an allergy or intolerance doesn’t mean that everyone needs to stop eating the food. No harmful side effects of gluten have been discovered for the average person.

  • Foods with gluten are bad for you

Gluten, in and of itself, is not bad for the vast majority of people. Gluten is simply a protein — it exists naturally in many plants people tend to eat. Foods with gluten have important nutrients for your overall health.

  • Gluten causes cancer

While other common foods have been linked to cancer in one or more studies, gluten has not. Some of the foods that can help prevent cancer actually contain gluten.

  • Gluten-free diets are low-carb

Not all gluten-free foods are low-carb! Lots of carbohydrate-rich foods are included in a gluten-free diet. Rice, for example, is gluten-free. Sugar. Fruit. Potatoes. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

  • Gluten-free foods are always expensive

The gluten-free imposter versions of normally glutenous foods are usually pretty expensive. However, not all gluten-free foods are labeled and advertised as gluten-free.

  • Going gluten-free will help you lose weight

There is zero evidence to suggest that eliminating gluten, without making other diet changes, results in weight loss.

  • Wheat has more gluten today than it did in the past

Farmers have always tried to improve and modify their crops over time. However, the gluten content in modern wheat is probably quite similar overall to wheat from long ago.

  • ‘Wheat-free’ and ‘gluten-free’ labels mean the same thing

While all gluten-free foods are free of wheat, not all wheat-free foods are free of gluten. “Wheat-free” is ambiguous — as are some other misleading food labels.

When a person is removing sources of gluten from their diet, it is important that they get adequate nutrients from other dietary sources. Gluten-containing foods can be beneficial to your health if you don’t have a sensitivity or allergy to them. Speak to the team at your nearest The Local Choice Pharmacy for dietary advice and support. We are here for you!


Disclaimer: All content on the The Local Choice Pharmacy is created and published online for informational purposes only. It does not serve as a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health advice.