Is it Right to Include Gluten-Free Products in Your Diet?

· February 17, 2019
If you don't have any kind of gluten intolerance, eliminating this protein from your diet can be harmful, as gluten-free products include more sugar and trans fats.

Millions of people worldwide have made the decision to go gluten-free as a part of their diet. They first cut off bread, wheat, and flour from their diet until they stop eating anything that includes this ingredient. But is it right to do so?

Gluten-free products have become very popular since people began to openly talk about celiac disease, a life-long digestive disorder, on social networks and the media. However, many people who don’t have celiac disease have decided to opt for gluten-free products.

The fad has prompted people to start a new diet that can wreak havoc on their health. Are you one of them?

Don’t worry, in this article we’ll share some information that may help you out.

Does Your Body Have a Hard Time Processing Gluten?

A woman who decided to stop eating gluten.

It’s always a good idea to clarify terms so that there are no misconceptions about a particular topic. Just to get things straight, here are some common and important terms to know:

  • Celiac disease: A permanent intolerance to gluten.
  • Gluten: A set of proteins found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye, and all their derivatives. Furthermore, it may be present in most of the processed foods in the market, as it makes doughs soft and elastic.

According to the Celiac Association of Argentina, 1 out of every 100 people in this Latin American country suffer from this disorder that can damage the intestinal mucosa. This hinders the absorption of nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals, and vitamins.

Take a look at this article: Gluten-free Recipes Full of Carbohydrates for Celiacs

A Few Figures

According to BBC World News, in 2015, 70 million Americans cut out gluten from their diets. On the other hand, in the UK, 7% of adults avoided it due to intolerance and allergies. However, 8% of the population opted for gluten-free products only to lead healthier lifestyles.

In that regard, they noted that 60% of adults had bought gluten-free products and 10% of families in this country had deemed this protein an “enemy”.

Gluten-Free Diet: A Dangerous Fad

A woman who decided to only eat gluten-free products.

Joining the “gluten-free” fad just to lose weight is a huge mistake, especially if you make the decision without prior investigation or specialist consultation.

In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) indicated that 6 out of every 100 consumers of gluten-free products in Spain have health issues, according to the newspaper ABC.

Despite the relatively low figures, WHO indicates that 83% of citizens still buy specialized gluten-free products at least once a week.

However, many wheat and barley substitutes contain more sugar and trans fats. Excess consumption of these elements can affect your health.

That being said, you could gain weight by cutting gluten out of your diet without adequate preparation. Thus, it’s important to consult a professional to guide you in this goal if cutting gluten out is indeed what’s best for you.

There’s No Reason to Cut Gluten Out of Your Diet

The director of the Observatory of Scientific Communication of the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF), Gonzalo Casino, told the newspaper La Vanguardia that there are no scientific reasons why a healthy person should opt for a gluten-free diet.

Casino led a study which showed that there’s no scientific basis to argue that a person without celiac disease should opt for a gluten-free diet. He explained that this has no health benefits because it also cuts out the fiber contained in grains and cereals.

He considers that this nutrient is vital because it helps fight cardiovascular disease and reduces the risk of developing some cancers and type 2 diabetes.

In addition, excluding it from your diet can cause intestinal damage, lead to constipation, and cause respiratory diseases.

Discover: Why are Gluten-free Diets Harmful?

Beware of Fads

We can’t deny that gluten is present in most fast food products. And there’s no doubt that excluding these foods is a healthy choice because they contain refined flours, sugars, and bad fats.

According to Casino’s study, the gluten-free market has led many people to believe that this protein damages health.

The gluten-free market has become a million dollar business. If you want to lose weight and don’t suffer from gluten intolerance, we assure you that there are many other options that can help you achieve your goal.

However, you should always start a weight loss plan under the direct guidance of an expert. A poorly planned diet can seriously damage your health.

  • Alvarez-Jubete, L., Arendt, E. K., & Gallagher, E. (2010). Nutritive value of pseudocereals and their increasing use as functional gluten-free ingredients. Trends in Food Science and Technology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tifs.2009.10.014
  • Pellegrini, N., & Agostoni, C. (2015). Nutritional aspects of gluten-free products. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. https://doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.7101
  • Bascuñán, K. A., Vespa, M. C., & Araya, M. (2017). Celiac disease: understanding the gluten-free diet. European Journal of Nutrition. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-016-1238-5
  • Missbach, B., Schwingshackl, L., Billmann, A., Mystek, A., Hickelsberger, M., Bauer, G., & König, J. (2015). Gluten-free food database: the nutritional quality and cost of packaged gluten-free foods. PeerJ. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.1337