Do people really know the truth behind a gluten free diet? Like fashion, diet trends come and go, but currently one that has become a bit more popular is the gluten free diet. Are people following this diet for what they think is a healthier lifestyle, or do they purely need to follow this diet due to health reasons?
To begin; what is gluten? Well, gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and spelt grain. Gluten is mostly used in products such as bread, cereals and pasta. It acts as a glue that holds food together to help maintain their shape. They also contribute health benefits such as fibre, vitamins and calories which are lost when you switch to a gluten free diet. People have been lead by the media to believe that the diet helps you lose weight, treat autism and boost energy to generally feel healthier, though there is no proven evidence to support this. Gluten free products are also substantially more expensive, therefore people that are doing the diet for these reasons are purely wasting their money (and it tastes worse too, if I may add). So what are you really eating when following a gluten-free diet? Whilst ditching wheat, rye and barley, gluten free bread typically subsidises these with four main starches – corn starch, rice flour, tapioca starch and potato flour. “They have the highest glycaemic indexes (an index of how high blood sugar rises over the 90 minutes after consumption) of all foods. So high, in fact, that gram for gram, ounce for ounce, such gluten-free foods raise blood sugar substantially higher than table sugar and higher than wheat products” said by Dr.William Davis, author of Wheat Belly Total Health.
Celiac disease is a serious genetic autoimmune disorder, and when people who suffer with it eat gluten, their body mounts an immune response that attacks the small intestine. These attacks are very damaging to the villi, which are small finger like projections that line the small intestine which then leads to lack of nutrient absorption. Therefore, a strict gluten free diet is compulsory for someone suffering with celiac disease, as this is currently the only treatment with effective results.
This diet is also beneficial for those who suffer with a gluten intolerance which causes similar symptoms to celiac disease, but has different implications for your health. Have you ever wondered whether a gluten free diet would benefit you? Do you suffer from symptoms such as painful cramps, gas, bloating or diarrhoea? Maybe this is the solution for you. As a sufferer of a non-celiac gluten intolerance, cutting gluten out of my diet has completely changed my day to day life and has eliminated all my symptoms. I was constantly told by doctors and nutritionists that I suffered from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and from talking to other individuals they were also told the same. Gluten intolerance is hard to diagnose therefore many doctors tell their patients that the symptoms sound like IBS. The only way to find out if it is gluten that is causing your symptoms is to eliminate gluten from your diet completely for a minimum of 4 weeks, and see if your symptoms have improved or hopefully disappeared. And you don’t need to worry about the convenience of where to get the products, as most stores including your local supermarket have a wide range of choices e.g Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrison’s and M&S. You may have to try a few different brands to identify which one you prefer as they do have a particularly different texture and taste to your normal loaf of bread.
Have we been falsely advertised with other diets and supposedly healthy products? Yes; one of the biggest juice companies in the world ‘Naked’, is mostly associated with the current craze of ‘juicing’. Juicing comes from most people’s perception that eating healthy is to indulge in fruit and veg. The company have used a clever method when naming their different types of juices by using motivational words such as “green”, “acai”, “power”, “fresh” and plenty more that attract the more gullible customers. The company have to be honest when labelling their products but people see only what they want to see, therefore your eyes are attracted to the never ending list of fruits that are claimed to be inside the juice drink. Essentially, when looking at the label that says “no sugars added” which could very well be true, you need to pay attention at the amount of sugar that’s already introduced through the fruit. Within some of the juices such as the ‘pure fruit’, that adds up to about 61 grams of sugar which is 20 more grams of sugar than a can of regular Pepsi. Where the sugar comes from is really no concern to your body, whether you’re drinking a Mountain Dew or a Naked juice (which both have the same sugar content), you are consuming more fructose than you should consume in the course of a few days.
If you’re worried about your waistline, stay away from Naked Juice or any other fad juice diets.