The Pro’s & Con’s Of A Gluten Free Diet

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The Pros and Cons of a Gluten-Free Diet

Nowadays, there’s lots of talk about gluten-free diets. Wherever you look, people seem to be opting for gluten free alternatives & sharing their experiences about how it has helped them feel better and even lose weight.

But, do we need a gluten-free diet to be fit? And if we do 'go-gluten' what are the possible risks vs rewards?

First things first: what is gluten? Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye. It’s basically found in pretty much anything tasty (sob). A gluten-free diet means ditching breads, pasta or baked goods.

Why Choose a Gluten Free Diet?

People who suffer with celiac disease - an autoimmune disease in which eating gluten leads to damage to the small intestine - will choose this diet to steer clear of all things gluten. Others opt for a gluten free diet because they have a sensitivity to it or merely for health reasons or weight loss purposes.

But just what are the pros and cons of a gluten-free diet?

Pros of Cutting Out Gluten

  • Can result in a healthier life, especially for those suffering with celiac, since it reduces and reverses the inflammation or damage to the intestinal tract
  • May help those experiencing digestive problems
  • Makes you more aware of food and encourages label reading
  • You’ll benefit from a healthier diet with less processed foods
  • Introduces higher quality grains, such as quinoa, into your diet
  • Gives you more energy. By removing gluten, you’re consuming less high-calorie carbs (which often make us feel sluggish or bloated). Sweet potatoes are a good gluten-free option for runners or athletes who choose a gluten free diet, as is our gluten-free PRO V-GAIN™ PROTEIN powder – perfect to use after training and between meals
  • Supports weight loss. By substituting pastas and breads for natural, whole foods such as fruits and vegetables, this gets rid of that extra fat
  • And the good news? Wine is naturally gluten free because it’s made of grapes. Phew.

Cons of Cutting Out Gluten

  • Potential weight gain by consuming gluten-free ready made products (which usually contain increased amounts of sugar), we recommend choosing whole foods or making your own gluten free bakes/ snacks etc to control your sugar intake.
  • You’re no longer able to eat today’s most popular foods and products, such as beer (which is made from barley), roasted nuts, ketchup, biscuits, pasta, cereals and cakes.
  • You often eat less fibre in the gluten free diet, which can result in digestive problems
  • Athletes and bodybuilders often indulge in pre-workout meals which are usually pasta based. Gluten-free breads and pastas are often less tasty and don’t offer the same performance results.
  • Because you completely eradicate wheat, rye and barley from your diet (which your body is incredibly used to), this can have an undesirable effect on your nutrient consumption. Gluten-rich foods are loaded with vitamin B, calcium and iron. When these disappear from your diet, so do your other important nutrients. It’s best to plump for natural foods rather than substitute alternatives.
  • Runners, particularly women, who opt for a gluten free diet need to ensure they keep balanced by incorporating fortified iron in their diet. Ensuring iron-rich alternatives, such as meats (beef, pork, lamb, liver); fish (shellfish, clams, mussels, oysters); leafy greens (broccoli, kale, collards) and legumes (green peas, pinto beans, black-eyed peas) are still involved in their healthy diet.

If you are thinking of going gluten free because of a suspected intolerance, we recommend making an appointment with your doctor or qualified nutritionist first to find out if there is a problem. Remember to do your research & uphold a nutritious, balanced diet. For gluten free recipes why not check out our recipes.

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