Gluten free diets are one of the fastest growing in the UK. They have a large celebrity following and a huge presence in the media. Currently, around 1 in 1000 people are estimated to have a gluten intolerance.
However, according to experts from institutions in the US such as Harvard and Colombia, cutting out gluten might actually do more harm than good.
What is gluten?
Gluten is the main protein found in many wheats and barleys and pretty much all tasty food. Subsequently, it is also found in many foods perceived as ‘unhealthy’. People who follow gluten free diets often cut out rice, pasta, bread and oats among other things.
However, studies have suggested that a gluten free diet may not be as beneficial as the recent craze might suggest.
This is because food containing gluten is actually often full of nutrition. Scientists have also found that a lot of gluten free products are actually low in fibre and vitamins. So when handled incorrectly, a gluten free diet can leave you deficient in a number of key nutrients.
Reducing gluten intake is essential for people with an intolerance towards it such as coeliac disease. For the average person however, it seems the risks out weigh the benefits.
The gluten free market has boomed in current years and many supermarkets now carry their own range of gluten free products, but many scientists warn against cutting out gluten entirely, since its effects on those without a gluten allergy remain widely debated.
If you aren’t careful, it seems this kind of diet can leave you lacking in essential minerals and vitamins. This can lead to side effects such as tiredness, lethargy and malnutrition.
So before you swear off carbs entirely, consider the health implications of going gluten free. They aren’t always as entirely positive as we might think.