Going Gluten Free: Is it Healthy if You are Not Gluten Intolerant?
Considering how difficult it can be to live a life without gluten in your diet, it’s a wonder that anyone would set out to do it on purpose. People think that the answer to their health concerns is to start cutting out foods from their diets, but the truth is that living a diet that is meant for someone who has a medical condition may not the best approach to healthy living.
The notion of going gluten free has only strengthened the bread haters’ rants over the last few years. People say things like “I knew we were eating too much bread.” But it is still up for debate whether it is a healthy choice if you don’t need to do it.
People become gluten intolerant when their body stops processing the proteins found in wheat products, as well as other products that contain gluten. It is not a lifestyle many of them would choose. Sure, you might lose a few pounds by cutting out gluten from your diet, but you might also find yourself lacking in important vitamins and minerals that are found in the products that have gluten in them. Anytime you cut something from your diet, it means you are cutting valuable nutrients.
When people cut meat from their diet they have to work harder to get iron and protein in to their diets. When people cut out certain vegetables, they have to work harder to get vitamins and minerals into their diets. We think that cutting foods out is the answer to our problems. It can make sense when it comes to sugar and over-processed flour, but when you start cutting out things entire cultures are built on: pasta, bread, and gravies and sauces, it can be quite difficult to get your balanced diet back under control.
So, is it healthy for you to go gluten free if you don’t need to? I think a better question is, if you do, are you ready to find alternate sources of calcium, fibre, carbs and other nutrients that you’ll be losing? If you are wanting to lose weight or eat healthier, that is very different than having actual Celiac Disease which requires you to cut gluten out all together. Reducing the amount of gluten you eat might be enough to settle down the bloating and gas you may experience, but eliminating it altogether may not a good idea either.
Gluten as a stand-alone protein does not have much added nutritional value, but the foods that it is found in certainly do. When you start cutting out things like whole grains, which are rich in nutrients and have a wide range of health benefits.
Gluten-free foods, which are typically manufactured and packaged to be sold in grocery stores, are much more expensive than conventional packaged foods, and can be lacking a great deal of essential amino acids and other nutrients that can be found in traditional versions of such foods.
So, is it healthy for you to go gluten free? Possibly not, unless you have to, without really looking at supplementing your diet with the lost nutrients. It could literally save your life if you have an aggressive form of Celiac Disease, otherwise, you may want to think about fully cutting gluten from your diet.
If you are not sure, it is advisable to consult a Naturopathic doctor and have a simple test done to determine if you do, in fact, have some kind of gluten intolerance. As well as consulting a nutritionist to make sure you’re not losing the valuable nutrients if you do decide to cut it out.