For the average eater the words “gluten free” are horribly confusing, this protein made up of peptides gliadin and glutenin is found in grains such as rye, wheat and barley. It’s known for giving bread its airy and fluffy substance and dough its sticky texture, but recently it’s become notorious for sending dieters, restaurateurs and the medical community into a tailspin. Grains have been consumed for thousands of years by many healthy, degenerative disease free ancestral culture without an issue. Bread was central to the formation of human society, from the western Asia where wheat was domesticated cultivation spread to Europe and North Africa and gave rise to more and more sophisticated forms of societal organisations. Why all of a sudden do we need to stop eating grains in order to arrest symptoms of autoimmune disease. For people with coeliac disease, a condition that affects one per cent of the population, gluten triggers a gut reaction that prevents the absorption of nutrients, causing painful symptoms including bloating, diarrhoea, nausea and for them the only treatment known is to avoid gluten completely but gluten-free food has become increasingly popular especially in the last years among people without the disease who perceive it as healthy.
So, what really happens to the body when you give up gluten???
– Gluten free diets often rely heavily on highly processed and low nutrients-dense starches such as white rice, potato and tapioca flowers meanwhile the grains that contain gluten offer key nutrients such as iron, magnesium, folate, zinc, calcium and most important fiber.
– Whether you believe in gluten-free diets or not it is scientifically proven that out of all the carbohydrates, whole grains are the hardest to digest so is probable that a gluten free-diet will help you have a happier and calmer stomach.
– Since a lot of energy goes into the digestion of gluten products a gluten-free diet can make you feel more energetic but that is not proven to work for everyone.
– Because gluten creates inflammation in the bodies of those who have allergies or sensitivities to it, they’ll quickly notice a significant reduction in symptoms when they remove gluten from their diet. With a gluten-free diet comes plenty of pre-packed, sugar packed, fat packed, crunchy, crispy gluten-free treats that often are more unhealthy than the companions with gluten.
-Many people report clearer thinking after they give up gluten, while they were ingesting gluten they were experiencing “brain fog” or people describe it as feeling tired, lethargic and fuzzy-headed but there is no scientifically prove of this myth yet.
– A gluten-free diet is also advised to people who want to loose weight and to people who suffer of the leakygut syndrome that basically affect the cells in your gut and can have horrible consequences but still there is no scientifically evidence.
However, gluten consumption does not appear to increase the risk of heart disease, and abstaining from the protein can reduce intake of healthy whole grains.
Gluten-free diets have surged in popularity, finding favour with celebrities as well as millions of ordinary people. It is also hard not to notice the increasing array of gluten-free products available in grocery stores. But is this because the stores are bowing to the consumer demand? Or are they simply jumping on the gluten-free hype in an attempt to make more money? But now alarming evidence suggests that many adherents are risking cancer and other chronic illnesses due to the high levels of toxic metals found in gluten-free foods.
Two major studies from the US reveal that those choosing gluten-free foods have twice as much arsenic in their urine as those who eat gluten. They also have 70 per cent more mercury in their blood and worryingly high levels of other metals such as lead and cadmium.In a report in the journal Epidemiology, scientists warned: ‘Gluten-free diets have become immensely popular and these findings may have important health implications. The effects of low-level arsenic and mercury exposure from food sources are uncertain but may increase the risk for cancer and other chronic diseases.Contamination comes mainly from rice flour, which is used as a substitute in products such as bread, spaghetti and cereals. Long-term exposure is also linked with skin lesions, weight loss, high blood pressure, muscle wasting and diabetes. Another point that goes against a gluten-free diet, however, is that many processed gluten-free products can be higher in fat, sugar, and calories while being lower in fiber, which can lead to weight gain.
Some experts still claim following a gluten-free diet in the absence of celiac disease may actually be detrimental to health, as it can lack the nutrients needed to maintain a healthy, balanced diet. According to the Mayo Clinic, a gluten-free diet may lead to lower levels of iron, calcium, fiber, folate, thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin.
So the conclusion is that avoiding wheat, barley and rye in the belief that a gluten free diet brings health benefits may do more harm than good.