Everywhere we go these days, we see signs on products saying gluten free popping out at us. Cakes, bread and pasta to name a few are now being sold in gluten free alternatives. So what is gluten free and is it necessary and good for us? Should we all be making the switch?
Gluten Free Products
So what is gluten? Gluten is a natural storage protein found in wheat, barley and rye; and so gluten is found in many of the foods we eat on a daily basis. Although it is in many of the foods we consume, studies have found that it is not actually necessary for our diet.
Gluten free diets have caught the media’s attention due to athletes and celebrities opting for this alternative. But is it just a marketing tactic and a fad? Products that never contained gluten in the first place have now adopted the label ‘gluten free’ like bananas and even water. However, there is a serious reason why gluten free labeling is important. Celiac Disease and gluten sensitivity is affecting a higher percentage of people among the population. These diseases cannot be medicated, the only way to cure them is to avoid gluten completely and so these gluten free products become a life line to some.
Many experts argue that keeping to a gluten free diet is not necessary for the rest of the population however by not eating gluten it highlights the other good grains we may have otherwise overlooked. Whilst eating some gluten products we can also look for other foods containing high fibre and whole grains such as quinoa, buckwheat, wild rice and brown rice. By avoiding as much gluten as possible, you are able to explore other foods that contain nutrients that we do need in our everyday diet. Some nutritionists, however, claim that more and more of us are becoming gluten intolerant, creating conditions such as constipation, weight gain, bloatedness and general lethargy.
It would seem that the jury is still out on gluten unless you have a clear gluten intolerance or medical condition such as Celiac disease. Enjoying white pasta, bread and cakes is not necessarily a thing of the past; however, it is clear that adding other nutrients into our diets that replace gluten laden products can have a welcome effect on our health. A healthy balance is what we should be aiming for.