Is going gluten-free a fad or a reality?
Image Source : Photo by Antonia Kofod on Unsplash
The present generation is very particular about their diet. Every day a new diet-trend is popping like hashtags in the social media. The million-dollar question is; how much of this lifestyle choice is just an empty fad or has some semblance of truth to it. One such popular lifestyle choice is a gluten-free diet.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a complex mixture of proteins primarily made of gliadin and glutenin. Their significant role is to store nutrients for plants. It is the gluten in the flour that gives your bread and baked products the ‘stretchy and chewy’ texture. Pasta wouldn’t look like pasta if gluten didn’t exist.
Over the years, gluten has become synonymous with wheat. Though wheat has abundant gluten in it, other grains like barley, rye, pelt, durum, emmer, semolina, farina, graham have gluten too.
When did gluten become the villain?
It was hundreds of years ago when certain people had celiac disease. It wasn’t known then gluten had any link to celiac disease. Then, Willem Dicke, a Dutch paediatrician, did some extensive research over a long time and concluded that it was gluten that triggered painful symptoms in Celiac patients.
To relieve them from suffering, gluten-free diets were recommended. But over decades, a gluten-free diet has risen to an enormous industry. Ordinary people have switched to a gluten- free diet. Interestingly, studies reveal people without celiac disease are the biggest purchasers of gluten-free products.
Gluten-free-good or bad
It makes sense for people who have celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, dermatitis herpetiformis or wheat allergy to go gluten-free to stay alive. The speculation is on the health benefit gained by regular people on going gluten-free. Some have claimed on feeling better and looking healthy by going on a gluten-free ride. Few researchers claim that it need not necessarily be linked to gluten and could be because they have cut off other processed food components as well.
Should you take the gluten-free path?
Concrete proofs aren’t available to back the fact that gluten-free diets are the healthier option for people who aren’t sensitive to gluten. Whether taking a gluten-free path is good or bad solely depends on your choices. If you are certain of going gluten-free, ensure, you are replenishing your body with all the required nutrients. Diet must contain other sources that will make up for the gluten-free fiasco. Lean meats, low-fat dairy, vegetables, fruit, whole gluten-free grains- amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, teff, millet, corn and rice and healthy fats are some good choices.
Those who are affected by gluten only have one choice, and that is to embrace a gluten-free lifestyle. But the rest, do have a choice. Ultimately, it is your health, and you are the best judge of what works for your body and what doesn’t. Think wisely.
Content expert (trainee)
Treillis Life Sciences Pvt. Ltd