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Thought Gluten-Free Food Was Healthy Here's the Truth!

May 23, 2017

Glutens are a type of natural chemical compound present in wheat, barley, rye, oat, and other grains related to the grass family. Some people are genetically predisposed to gluten intolerance. They cannot process gluten properly and suffer from various gastrointestinal symptoms. Others are allergic to gluten. Excluding food items with gluten and switching to a gluten-free diet is the only option for such individuals.

Unfortunately, the term “gluten-free” is now sometimes associated with healthy eating – a trend that’s driven by social media and unethical marketing practices that promote gluten-free food as a healthier option. As a result, a lot of diet conscious individuals have started making a switch to a gluten-free diet even though they are not sensitive or allergic to gluten. This is not a good practice, which could have ill effects on your health. Here’s why gluten-free food is not always good for you.

You may lose out on vital nutrients
Whole grains are the primary sources of several essential nutrients like vitamin B and iron for a lot of people. When you go on a gluten-free diet, you risk losing out on these nutrients, which are responsible for keeping our bodies functioning smoothly. If your body stops getting the daily recommended dose of these nutrients, then you could suffer from health problems associated with nutrient deficiencies.

You may lose out on dietary fibre
Our body’s gastrointestinal system requires dietary fibres to process the food we consume properly. Fibres help with nutrient absorption as well as a healthy bowel movement. If you’re on a gluten-free diet, your body may not receive the right amount of dietary fibres it requires. This may manifest in the form of constipation and other digestive problems.

It could harm your gut bacteria
Gluten promotes the growth of good bacteria present in our gut. So, if you’re letting go of gluten even though you’re not sensitive to it, you’re doing more harm than good. That’s because our body’s internal flora plays a major role in digestion and other functions such as maintaining a healthy immune system.

It may weaken your immune system
A gluten-free diet could weaken your immune system by harming your gut bacteria as already stated. But it can also harm your immune system directly. Gluten is said to boost your immune function. There’s scientific proof that gluten aids the growth of fighter immune cells and increases the triglyceride levels in our bodies. Thus, a gluten-free diet could make you more susceptible to infections and even cancer.

Could increase the risk of cancer
A gluten-free diet can make you vulnerable to cancer by making your immune system weaker. But it can also increase the possibility of cancer indirectly.

People on a gluten-free diet could increase their consumption of rice as it’s free of gluten. Rice, however, is naturally high in arsenic. Rice also has relatively greater amounts mercury and arsenic as it could absorb these heavy metals from the water and earth. And heavy metals are associated with several types of cancer.

Another way a gluten-free diet could raise the risk of cancer is through meat consumption. A person on such a diet is likely to supplement his or her diet by eating more meat. And increased meat intake is linked to cancer.

There’s no research to suggest that following a gluten-free diet will improve your health. For this reason, and for the reasons stated above, you should not go on a gluten-free diet unless you’re sensitive or allergic to gluten. If you suspect you’re sensitive to gluten, it’s best to get yourself diagnosed professionally before going gluten-free.


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