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Should Everyone Go Gluten Free?

April 15, 2011 Print This ArticleShare

Author: Michael Greeves

Gluten free diets are becoming more and more popular, and many people wonder if everyone should just join the crowd and go gluten free. After all, if everyone ate that way, the food supply could be geared towards supplying those demands and it would be easier to follow that diet and nutrition. Before you go off on a campaign to convince everyone to change, consider the question carefully.

The Good of Gluten Free

Gluten free diets cut out wheat, barley and rye products altogether. Gluten is the substance that makes breads more elastic. Gluten can be found in many more products besides breads, though. It is found in nearly every food that uses flour in thickening, a baking ingredient, or is based on the flour, such as wheat pasta.

Gluten free diets are essential for the good health of people with celiac disease. These people suffer continuously as long as they have gluten in their diets. They can have symptoms ranging from digestive disorders to arthritis, anemia, and infertility. These people absolutely should go on gluten free diets.

There are also people who are simply allergic to products that have gluten in them. A wheat allergy, for instance, is very different from celiac disease, but it is very serious nonetheless. Symptoms include hives, nausea, labored breathing, and in severe cases, anaphylaxis. People who have allergies to grain would do well to eat the same gluten free products that celiac eat. These products are not marketed specifically towards people with food allergies, but they provide a good food supply that does not contain these grains.

Why You Might Not Want To Go Gluten Free

Unless you have celiac disease or some form of grain allergy, there is no known reason to do away with gluten products for good diet and nutrition. First, be sure that you do not have risk factors or symptoms of either of these disorders, because they are sometimes hard to spot. If you have any doubts, visit your doctor to be tested. Then, if you get the all-clear, stop worrying about a gluten free lifestyle.

First of all, it is much easier to find healthful whole grain products than gluten free substitutes. Whole wheat breads or pastas provide good carbs with fiber and B Vitamins. These products can be found in nearly every grocery store in the USA. They are a ready source of energy and nutrients.

Second, gluten free products - at least the current ones on the market - have a lot more health negatives than wheat, barley and rye products. The gluten free breads are not too appetizing unless the manufacturers add large doses of sugar and fat to them. Most of them are also very high in salt, many of them containing up to 7 times the salt in regular breads.

Cutting out gluten unnecessarily can cause you to feel fatigued, have more headaches, and even gain weight. They mostly provide fewer nutrients than regular foods, and they are much more expensive. Under these circumstances, it makes little sense to go gluten free unless you are one of the people who have a direct problem with gluten or certain grain products.

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