3 Common Misconceptions About Gluten-Free Diets

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Investigating the claims.

There are surely more than 3 common misconceptions about gluten-free diets, but the areas that draw the most confusion deal with the necessity of gluten and the effects it has on both a healthy and an intolerant system. Not everyone who attempts a gluten-free diet possess a sensitivity to the substance. In fact, many people go gluten-free for the purposes of weight loss or simply to reduce bloating after meals. It is important to note the details and true promises that accompany a gluten elimination diet so that one's expectations will not be dashed by the experience.

3 Common Misconceptions About Gluten-Free Diets

Every food you eat affects your body in some way. Certain foods have healing properties, but their nutrients can be damaged or negatively affected by cooking processes. Other foods unleash the powerful healing properties of their nutrients primarily when they are cooked. Some foods are, for the most part, useful for dispensing calories, and other foods provide only empty calories that will be stored as fat. Unfortunately, when one suffers from a genetic intolerance to an otherwise neutral food, the nutrients in that food cannot be used properly and, instead, the substance affects the body in an entirely negative way. Gluten is a common allergen and element of intolerance. The nature of gluten itself is what fuels the following 3 common misconceptions about gluten-free diets:

You Will Become Nutrient Deficient

Some people have received false information about the role of gluten in their diets and have concluded that a gluten-free diet will in some way result in nutrient deficiencies. This couldn't be further from the truth. Gluten is a complex protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. It is merely one of many proteins common to the American diet. In fact, it is hardly one of the most easily digestible proteins due to the fact that it is large in size and complex in nature. The larger a protein molecule is, the harder it is for the body to break down. This is one of the reasons many individuals have a difficult time digesting the cow milk protein, casein. Casein is also a very large protein and, therefore, requires considerably more effort for the human system to assimilate than the smaller milk protein molecule found in goat milk or human breast milk.

The average American can receive protein through many sources such as milk, poultry, eggs, fish and meat. Moreover, the average American is not ingesting gluten from whole grains, but rather, from refined wheat products which are non-fibrous and bereft of nutritional value. These types of simple carbohydrates are quickly converted to glucose in the body and often stored as fat. Thus, by eliminating these enriched gluten-packed foods and substituting them with non-glutinous whole grains such as quinoa and brown rice, you will be adding more nutrition to your diet instead of losing nutrients.

Whole grains such as wheat, barley and rye are a good source of insoluble fiber. However, they are not the only source of insoluble fiber. Many raw fruits and vegetables as well as non-glutinous whole grains contain this type of bulking fiber. So, in all actuality, you won't miss much by kicking the gluten out of your diet.

You Will Lose Weight

The human body is a complicated machine, and everyone reacts differently when it comes to fad diets. However, attempting a gluten-free diet may not result in weight loss. In fact, if you suffer from celiac disease and have been nutrient deficient due to a permeable and damaged small intestine, abstaining from gluten may heal up your body to the point that you gain weight.

Healthy individuals engaging in a gluten-free diet for the purposes of weight loss may shed pounds due to the fact that they are now avoiding many sources of refined white flour carbohydrates, but should their diet remain rich in non-glutinous carbohydrates, they may not witness significant weight loss. Rather, a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean sources of protein will very often result in weight loss regardless of whether gluten is present in the diet.

Still, individuals who have a difficult time digesting gluten may find they feel less bloated after meals. This reduction in bloating and water retention may take an inch or two off the waist making the effort worthwhile.

You Will Feel Better Immediately

This last misconception applies mainly to persons with celiac disease. Some, if not many, celiacs will experience immediate relief of their symptoms when gluten is removed from the diet. However, a significant portion of celiacs have incurred so much damage to their small intestine that they now suffer from secondary conditions as well as a horde of food sensitivities. Though removing gluten from the diet will eliminate the main causational ingredient, the remaining food sensitivities will continue to aggravate their digestive system until those elements are removed as well.

Moreover, celiac disease can weaken the body and trigger more genetic diseases that may or may not improve once gluten is removed. This is why it is so important to diagnose celiac disease as soon as possible or else permanent damage may occur. Still, regardless of the healing time necessary, gluten must be removed from the diet. If an individual does not experience immediate relief, but does genuinely possess an intolerance to gluten, continuing to ingest this protein will contribute to a rapid and even more painful condition. Where celiac disease is present, a gluten elimination diet is the first line of defense and an absolute necessity.

Further Information

For individuals still interested in following a gluten-free protocol, there are many resources available to aid the transition. Visit Celiac.com for an in-depth approach to eating gluten-free.

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3 Common Misconceptions About Gluten-Free Diets