Welcome back! Today we are going to continue talking about whether it is healthier to eat gluten free. If you missed Part 1 of “Is it Healthier to Eat Gluten Free?” yesterday please go check it out!
Yesterday we spoke about people choosing to eat gluten free because of the perceived health benefits and the fad diet aspect. Today we will continue on our list below.
- Perceived Health Benefit
- Fad Diet
- Sensitivity to Gluten or Wheat
- Eat Low Carb
- Inflammation Removal Diet
- Other Food Sensitivities
Sensitivity to Gluten or Wheat
Sensitivity to Gluten or Wheat is the biggest reason people eat gluten free. I feel like that is an obvious statement, but I’ll say it anyway! This is a great reason to eat gluten free and it does mean it is healthier to eat gluten free!
Typical symptoms of sensitivity to gluten are: bloating, gas, headaches or migraines, diaria, constipation, achy joints, brain fog, lethargy, plus other minor symptoms depending on who you are. The common themes you will see is most of the symptoms are inflammation and irritant related.
The biggest issue for people from wheat or gluten is inflammation. Inflammation is what causes many of the gut issues, as well. Gluten inflames the gut lining which then becomes more sensitive, and it becomes even more irritated.
If you experience any of these symptoms regularly, I highly recommend you look into whether or not a gluten free diet would be right for you. I need to say here that I am not a doctor, so you should consult your primary care physician before doing anything crazy.
Eating Low Carb
Eating a low carb diet is another reason it could be healthier to eat gluten free. Low carb diets have been around for many years – anyone remember Atkins or South Beach? Paleo and Primal are not just about being low carb, but that does factor fairly significantly in them. Keto is focused almost entirely on reducing carbs.
If you are trying to eat low carb, going gluten free will help significantly. Remember, though, just because something says gluten or grain free does not mean it is better for you than the alternative! It is always better to substitute whole foods rather than a different processed food.
Paleo and Primal foods have some great benefits to them. The avoidance of processed sugar is one of the biggest. Often times it gets replaced with coconut sugar or dates. These are way better options. Are you then eating them every day because they are “approved”, though? As we discussed yesterday, just because something is on the “safe” list does not mean it is better for you, or should be consumed all the time.
Don’t get me wrong, I sell brownies for a living. I think a good dessert is amazing and a worthwhile treat! I do not recommend you eat my brownies every day, though, even though it would be great for my business 😉
Some people may have ZERO tolerance for sugar or any sweetener that moves their blood sugar at all, but that is another story for another day. As a general rule for myself and most others, I have found that our bodies allow some wiggle room on what we consume. I want to eat the best food possible when I have that treat, whatever it may be. That is why we have pursued making the BEST brownies possible. I would rather eat less or even give up a food entirely until I can find that really good recipe! If a recipe or product does not make me totally happy, you will not find it on here.
Inflammation Removal Diet
As we discussed above, gluten and wheat are a source of inflammation in many people. There are those who argue it causes inflammation in all people, even those not sensitive. That is another story for another day, though. For more information on inflammation this is a great article from Mercola.
For those who know they have issues caused by inflammation such as achy joints, gluten would be one of the things to remove from their diet. Dairy, highly processed oils, sugar, and others also fall into that list.
Other Food Sensitivities
People with gluten intolerance frequently have other food allergies as well, sadly, and that can mean it is healthier to eat totally grain free. Other grains, even gluten free ones, dairy, sugars, eggs, food additives, these are all possibilities. If you are still experiencing negative symptoms and you have eliminated gluten or another food, you might consider eliminating more foods to see if that improves things.
It is frequently recommended when you are trying to figure out what foods are affecting your health to follow an elimination diet. The basic theory is that you remove all of the foods that are likely to be affecting you for at least 1-6 months and then slowly add 1 food back in at a time. This allows you to help determine if it’s actually gluten, or maybe dairy, or maybe it’s both! You also may discover an allergy you didn’t even know you had. I found out through doing the GAPS diet that I was sensitive to nightshades, which I would have never figured out otherwise.
I highly recommend you read up on this if you intend to go this path. The GAPS diet is one version of an elimination diet that has other aims as well. Here is another fairly good article about elimination diets as well.
Cross Reactivity between allergens is another reason that it is healthier to eat gluten free. Cross reactivity is when the immune system of the body reacts to a different allergen protean than you are actually allergic to. This happens because the proteins are very similar so the body thinks it is the same thing. Here is a very detailed article on it.
As you can see, there are many reasons it can be healthier to eat gluten free. It truly does benefit many people. Understand why you would be doing it though. There is no reason just to do something just because. Look for whole foods, that have been produced well, and properly, and don’t eat a ton of junk and you will be far better off than just simply going gluten free.
Make it a tasty day,