The answer? It is rather complicated. Gluten is a mix of two proteins found in bread and all food products that contain wheat, such as grains, pasta and packaged foods. Those proteins can be difficult for people to digest and it is thought that they get worse or even cause health problems.
Some people need to avoid gluten to save their lives, while others just feel better and believe that they are healthier without it. Whether or not you should eat gluten is by no means black or white, so I dive into the most common reasons why people avoid it below. If you are considering removing gluten, you should know why people avoid it and what effects nutrition sciences and health professionals say it can have on your health.
Increase in popularity of Keto, Paleo, and low-carb diets
Unless you've been living under a rock for the past five years, you've probably noticed that the low-carb diet trend is booming. And while science and healthcare professionals are still discussing whether it is really healthy to remove carbohydrates, people are opting for low-carb food with the aim of losing weight, feeling more energetic, or managing certain illnesses or conditions (including other reasons).
Some of the most popular diets, including the Keto diet and the Paleo diet, require that you remove bread and gluten. For the Keto diet you cut bread and wheat products, mainly because they are high in carbohydrates; The goal of the Keto diet is to limit enough carbohydrates and consume more fat so that your body goes into a ketogenic state (where your body runs on fat for energy). The Paleo diet limits bread and all grains (including gluten-containing grains) because the purpose of the diet is to reduce your consumption of processed foods and to retain them in their whole form (ie especially vegetables, fruit, meat, eggs) , nuts)).
Health problems about gluten
There is a lot of confusion about whether everyone should avoid gluten or whether it is only for people with diagnosed disorders (more about that later). The main argument about gluten problems is that it contains proteins that are resistant to digestion in humans. And although you may think that this is not a major problem (in addition to causing a bloated feeling or discomfort), many experts disagree.
According to some, when this happens, this can cause a "leaky gut" or gut permeability, where molecules from your small intestine and into your body can cross (which shouldn't happen if you digest food), trigger an autoimmune response . Science shows that this happens in people with celiac disease, although the evidence that it can occur in non-celiac disease is only confirmed in test tube studies.
And the proteins in gluten are not the only problem – gluten in wheat also contain Amylase trypsin inhibitors, which have been shown to cause inflammation in the digestive system. Wheat germ agglutinin is a type of lectin that occurs in wheat and is also associated with autoimmune diseases and inflammation.
Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease in which the consumption of gluten causes damage to the small intestine, resulting in painful and uncomfortable digestive problems. The small intestine is responsible for the body's absorption of nutrients. If it is damaged, it means that you will not get what you need from the food you eat, which can cause many health problems. If celiac disease is not diagnosed or remains untreated, this can lead to serious health problems such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis or GI cancer.
Even if you do not have a severe wheat or gluten allergy or celiac disease, it is possible to develop a gluten sensitivity that causes symptoms such as headache, fatigue, "brain fog", bloating, or gas. This is often reported and an estimated 18 million people in the US have gluten sensitivity.
If you suspect that you have a gluten sensitivity, one way of knowing it is an attempt to remove it from your diet for a certain period of time. When you then re-introduce it and notice any symptoms, you may be able to determine if it is the culprit behind the headache or abdominal pain you experience. ]] gettyimages-670390970 “/>
It is always best to take a personal approach when you decide what food works and what does not work for you, and that includes gluten.
Whether or not you avoid gluten is a personal preference. Some people simply avoid it because they follow health experts who recommend switching it off (which is fine). If you think you have no problems with it and you don't worry, you don't have to follow a trend just because other people do. And if the above evidence concerns you, then removing gluten is a simple way to prevent the health risks associated with some claims.
The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a doctor or other qualified health care professional for any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.