In recent years, the gluten-free diet has caught our fancy, thanks to celebs including Zooey Deschanel, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Emmy Rossum, and Chelsea Clinton, who have endorsed the healthy, alternative diet regimen across popular platforms. Usually, a gluten-free diet is prescribed to individuals who experience severe wheat allergies and are at risk of bloating, fatigue, diarrhea, malnourishment, infertility, and osteoporosis. That said, people with no allergic aversion are also going gluten-free because they believe the diet to help in losing excess body fat, elevate athletic performance, and rejuvenate the mind. To help you access your dietary requirements and make sure that you don’t succumb to false information, here we are debunking five common misconceptions about the gluten-free diet. Take a look.
Myth 1 - Assuming Gluten-free Diet to be the Healthiest
Many people believe that gluten-free diet is one of the healthiest diet regimens available today, and therefore indulge in eating stuff such as gluten-free brownies or pizzas. However, you must know that several varieties of packaged gluten-free foods are marketed with the false suggestion of being a healthier choice. In addition, gluten-free items such as biscuits, bread mixes, and flour are actually made from purified starches (including maize, potato flour, white rice flour or tapioca starch), which contain fewer vitamins, lesser fiber content, and more fat to emulate the satiating fluffiness of gluten.
Myth 2 - You can do away with Grains
There is a common misconception that you can cut down on consuming all grains once you go gluten-free. This is not true. There are several varieties of gluten-free grains and seeds such as millet, corn, polenta, sorghum, wild rice, buckwheat, and quinoa. These grains contribute key nutrients such as iron, magnesium, iodine, zinc, vitamin B and fiber into the diet. Studies have shown that consuming lesser fiber content and going for so-called gluten-free diet can lead to an increased risk of health conditions such as indigestion and diabetes. Therefore, it is essential to strike a balance between fibers and going gluten-free by including different gluten-free whole grains, plenty of fruits and vegetables, legumes and nuts into your meals.
Myth 3 - Skipping The Fine Print is Okay
Nowadays, health-conscious individuals read the food labels before selecting a particular food item. However, not everyone is informed enough to decode all the details of the label and subsequently choose to ignore the nutritional content on the packaging. If you examine closely, gluten is often hiding in unassuming places; therefore, make sure to check the label for ingredients such as wheat, rye, barley, malt, oats, or yeast which are not “gluten-free”. Even veggie burgers, gravies, salad dressings, seasonings, sauces, and medications can contain some gluten content. Therefore, be sure to read the label and stay away from items that say ‘gluten-free’ or ‘may contain gluten’, because such items may contain gluten in other undetectable forms.
Myth 4 - Eliminating Foods is Same as Enhancing Foods
Another ambiguous notion that many people going on a diet plan is that they need to eliminate certain varieties of foods. In reality; however, most diets are not about eliminating foods, they are about enhancing them and incorporating them in moderation. In simple terms, you don’t have to think about what you cannot eat, but you got to think about what you can. Therefore, being on a gluten-free diet you need to experiment with different gluten-free flours, grains, and baking aids to create recipes that are both tasteful and nutritious.
Myth 5 - Gluten is the Reason for All Your Digestive Problems
Often, individuals opting for gluten-free diet do so because of bloating or poor digestion. Although gluten might be the cause of these issues in some cases, it would be unfair to say so for every case of belly bloat. Truth is, we are comfortable putting all the blame on the gluten that we had in the pasta or noodles, rather than buckling up to find the actual reason for weight gain. What about lactose intolerance or that extra serving of creamy tortellini? You must understand that having larger portions of food in one go cause bloating in more people than the gluten in the pasta.
Gluten is inherent to a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley, which lends elasticity to the dough and helps us to chew products such as bread and pizza. While gluten causes no issues in individuals that have an active lifestyle, it causes several allergic reactions in people with wheat sensitivities or allergies, or gluten-damaged villi (these are finger-like projections in the inner lining of the small intestine that help absorb micronutrients. lining the gut that absorbs nutrients.) For such individuals, going gluten-free diet remains the only viable option. However, it is important to understand the concept and possible after-effects of gluten eradication instead of blindly following the set diet plan. Remember, a lot of available food items such as soy sauce, couscous, malt vinegar, beer and wine, energy bars, licorice, communion wafers contain gluten in some quantities. Even grains such as spelt, farro, Kamut, durum, semolina, and triticale can also trigger allergies in individuals allergic to gluten.