Is Gluten Free Diet Just a Fad?

Are you gluten-free?

If you are, then you are part of over 22% of Americans who now say they try to avoid gluten and prefer and an industry that brings in about 15 billion dollars every year. And this number is only projected to rise, reaching $33 billion by the year 2025 [1].

If you are not one of these people trying to avoid gluten, then you surely know someone who is trying to avoid gluten and is known for buying gluten-free alternatives.

The gluten-free label is everywhere. It lines the shelves at the grocery store, and restaurants are rushing to be able to list it on their menu. Some do it for health reasons, while others do it to cash in on the latest trend in an attempt to draw in more consumers and make more money.

So, the question becomes whether or not gluten-free is just another fad diet that is perpetuated by the food industry, or if it is something that should be taken seriously. Is this the new trend in the health space that will soon come to pass as another trend takes over or is there some truth behind this trend that we should be paying attention to?

With so many different trends and fads that invade the health space, it can be difficult to decipher what is real and what is not.

In this post, you’ll learn…

  • What gluten is and where it hides
  • Why someone would want to avoid gluten
  • Why should be avoiding gluten
  • How to limit gluten in your life

WHAT IS GLUTEN

So, what is gluten?

Gluten is a naturally occurring protein that is found in certain carbs, such as wheat, barley, rye, and triticale, a cross between wheat and rye. One of the major misconceptions of gluten is that is in all grains, but this simply isn’t true. Gluten-free grains include:

  • Sorghum
  • Millet
  • Brown and wild rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Corn
  • Oats
  • Amaranth

You can also find it in many processed foods because it is added as a cheap stabilizer and thickening agent. This is another reason you should avoid processed foods as they often include harmful ingredients in them that you may not even be aware of.

Unless a package clearly states that the food is 100% gluten-free, there is a big chance the food you are eating contains gluten. If you are unsure, contact the manufacturer to double-check whether or not the food has gluten in it, naturally occurring or added.

WHY PEOPLE AVOID GLUTEN

Gluten may be a new trend, but that doesn’t mean it is just a fad and there are many reasons why people would avoid gluten. For some, gluten can be dangerous and make them very ill, while for others it can cause discomfort and inflammation.

Here are the top reasons why people avoid gluten:

  • Celiac Disease – This is one of the most well-known reasons why people avoid gluten, and it is a severe autoimmune that can affect a person’s entire life, for the rest of their life. A person with celiac disease must follow a strict diet that is entirely gluten-free. The smallest amounts of gluten can result in damage to the small intestine.
  • Gluten Sensitivity – This is the condition that is most self-diagnosed, and those that do self-diagnose are often wrong. It is because of this that gluten sensitivity has been incorrectly labeled as being a fake disease. Gluten sensitivity is not the same as celiac disease but can leave a person feeling ill after consuming it, with symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, headaches, fatigue, acne, depression, anxiety, anemia, joint pain, and brain fog. Because these symptoms are common among other illnesses, it can make it difficult to self-diagnose.
  • Wheat and Gluten Allergy – Some people can be allergic to wheat and/or gluten and consuming it can cause irritation or even be life threatening. Symptoms can include a rash, difficulty breathing, vomiting or diarrhea. This allergy can be just like any other allergy, meaning it can vary in severity and those with an allergy to wheat or gluten should avoid it at all costs. This means you should make sure the foods you are consuming are not only gluten-free but have not been contaminated by other gluten foods.
  • Weight Loss – Many people avoid gluten to lose weight, and the main reasons, so many people lose weight on a gluten-free diet is because they end up avoiding refined carbohydrates that cause weight gain in the first place.
  • Fad – While there are health reasons why gluten should be avoided, some people don’t completely understand them and jump on the “bandwagon” because it is considered trendy. These are the people that are most likely to still consume gluten now and then and eventually go back to eating gluten. These are the people who are not doing it for real health reasons, but rather because they heard it was unhealthy or that it can make them sick. These are often the people who self-diagnose themselves with a gluten related illness. The reason this is separate from those doing it for real health reasons is that they don’t exactly know why they are following this diet, just that they were told to and had likely followed other fad diets that have no health benefits and will likely do so in the future.

SHOULD I AVOID GLUTEN

There are many reasons why people avoid gluten, but does that mean you should?

You may or may not fall into one of the categories above, but that shouldn’t determine whether or not you should include gluten in your diet. As you can tell, everyone handles gluten differently and you should go on how you feel.

The fact is, most people feel pretty good on a gluten-free diet and there are good reasons for this. Gluten can cause reactions within your body, even if you do not have celiacs disease or a gluten sensitivity.

Here are some of the reactions your body can have, regardless of whether or not you an autoimmune disorder, gluten sensitivity, or wheat allergy.

  • Inflammation – Gluten can cause an inflammatory response in your gut. Inflammation is your body’s natural response to an injury, and when you consume gluten, it can cause small damage to the lining of your gut. Your body then reacts with inflammation to fight and heal this damage.
  • Increased Gut Permeability – Your will lining is responsible for controlling what nutrients get absorbed into your bloodstream and which get blocked. The inflammation caused by gluten to the lining of your gut can affect its permeability, leading to the wrong things passing through the gut lining. This is known as leaky gut.
  • Imbalanced Bacteria – Your gut contains a lot of bacteria, both good and bad and to stay healthy you need a balance of both. The consumption of gluten can throw this balance off [2].

WAYS TO AVOID GLUTEN

Becoming gluten-free can help you feel better, and if you suffer from a gluten sensitivity, celiac disease, or a wheat allergy, then you want to avoid gluten at all costs. If you don’t suffer from one of these, I would encourage you to try going gluten-free or at least cut down on your gluten intake by swapping for gluten-free alternatives, and see how you feel. Chances are, you will love the difference.

The best ways to avoid gluten are to stick to whole foods and to get on a Custom Meal Plan and let a nutritionist design a plan that will get you on a better nutritional track. Our meal plans are being made with gluten-free foods in mind. If you want to ensure you are only eating gluten-free foods, just let us know when you sign up. Getting on a meal plan and cutting the gluten out of your life can help you feel better and more energetic.

 

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