Is the gluten-free diet right for you? 4 questions to ask yourself


The gluten-free diet is for individuals who have been diagnosed with a gluten intolerance, allergy or celiac disease. However, due to the diet’s low allowance of carbohydrates, it has a lot of appeal as a fad diet, as well.

Some individuals eliminate gluten to manage symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome without first seeking professional guidance. This hinders the ability of the health professional to determine the root cause of their trouble. Some people might find they feel better after eliminating gluten — but do they feel better because they eliminated processed junk foods or because they have a true issue with gluten? Furthermore, because these individuals feel better they are hesitant to eat healthy, gluten-containing carbohydrates again.

In reality, diets that eliminate particular foods or food groups tend to be inadequate. The gluten-free diet is deficient in B vitamins and phytochemicals, which help regulate our metabolism and cholesterol levels.

To determine if a gluten-free diet is for you, first ask yourself these questions:

1. Are you choosing whole grains most of the time?

Processed white flours inflame our gastrointestinal system. Most often, switching out white-flour products for whole-grain carbohydrates reduces inflammation and the related symptoms within a few weeks.

2. How balanced is your diet?

If you are considering a gluten-free diet, you might already be eating fewer carbohydrates. A low-carb diet typically is higher in fat, which can cause symptoms of bloating, gas and diarrhea. It’s important to eat a healthy blend of carbs, fats and protein.

3. Do you drink alcohol?

The American Heart Association allows moderate alcohol consumption as part of its heart healthy guidelines, but alcohol is a toxin and can inflame the intestinal tract, causing poor absorption of nutrients, even in moderation.

4. Does your diet have enough variety?

If you are eating whole grains already, be sure to eat a wide variety. Wheat is a more inflammatory grain, and too much over time can aggravate your system. For example, having oatmeal, quinoa, corn tortillas and brown rice, along with other wheat products throughout the week, reduces the potential for inflammation.

The gluten-free diet is not a balanced diet for the general public, and there are numerous causes, besides gluten, for gastrointestinal distress. Work through these questions in regard to your own eating habits, or seek out a registered dietitian for reliable advice before assuming a gluten-free diet is right for you.



By Niki Kubiak from livewellnebraska.com