The new episode of eliminating gluten is taking over, but is there any truth to the perception that this elimination means it’s a healthier choice? Quite simply, no! Unless you are sensitive to gluten or have coeliac disease, there is absolutely no reason for you to spend your hard earned pennies on a product that doesn’t benefit you. For those who do have an allergy/disease, this new craze is great as consuming gluten can cause stomach pains, diarrhoea, damage and inflammation to the gastrointestinal tract. Those who suffer from this unfortunate disease/gluten sensitivity are scarce a recent journal showed that 86% of individual who believed they were gluten sensitive could actually tolerate it, so for those of us jumping on the unnecessary bandwagon, you’re not benefiting at all!
Coeliac disease is a serious health issue where the body attacks itself when gluten is consumed. It is not an allergy, but an auto immune disease. Whereas gluten sensitivity is a newly observed problem the role of the immune system for those who are gluten sensitive is unclear. Research does show the elimination of gluten helps with side effects, however, it is not known if this is a fortunate placebo effect. This phenomenon has developed from evidence that gluten is a difficult protein for all humans to digest and they might be better avoiding it. The genetic engineering of wheat over the last 100 years has meant there has been an increase in the amount of gluten found in wheat, which in turn has resulted in some of us finding difficulty in digesting wheat products. With the increase of gluten found in wheat and an increase of gluten sensitivity, the break out of gluten free products has become incredibly hard to miss when walking into bakeries or cafes.
Gluten is found in a lot of bakery goods and the absence of gluten does not mean a triple chocolate muffin is the healthier choice, it just means it does not contain the protein gluten. It’s the same as those who are lactose intolerant, their bodies cannot physically process lactose found in diary products and the consumption of lactose could leave the intolerant embarking on a risky journey home via public transport after devouring a cream filled donut washed down with a peanut butter milkshake and a slice of strawberry cheese cake. If someone who wasn’t lactose intolerant all of sudden cut out lactose products due to incorrect media advertisement stating it is healthier choice to eliminate lactose they in fact would have no benefit.
Gluten-free substitutes (processed gluten free food) are in fact often higher in calories and carb content. Relying on them is leaving you at risk to insulin resistance and fat gain, which nobody wants. So here’s hoping the gluten free craze passes by soon and I can refrain from the urge of wanting to rugby tackle every hipster chalk board claiming gluten free is healthier.