Despite the fact that less than one percent of people in the United States are diagnosed with an illness that causes gluten sensitivity or allergy, almost one-third of Americans aim to reduce or avoid gluten in their diets.
Why have gluten-free diets become so popular? There have been official reports about the benefits of avoiding gluten, such as improving symptoms of other health conditions. This information led to media coverage and pushy marketing of gluten-free diets.
This has led many Americans to believe that gluten is unhealthy and should be avoided. However, gluten is actually not unhealthy, and research has found that a gluten-free diet increases your risk of several health issues.
This being said, if you have celiac disease or another diagnosed gluten intolerance, you should not consume gluten.
This article will outline the risks associated with adopting a gluten-free diet if you do not have a gluten intolerance.
In the US, whole grain foods like bread, pasta, and breakfast cereal are often enriched to contain higher amounts of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Most refined gluten-free varieties of these foods, on the other hand, are not enriched or fortified, so they do not contain significant amounts of these nutrients.
Many people with celiac disease on strictly gluten-free diets have deficiencies in calcium, fiber, and iron.
It is commonly thought that gluten-free snacks are healthier than their gluten-containing counterparts, but processed gluten-free foods can contain more calories, fat, and sugar, leading to weight gain.
If you have gluten intolerance and adopt a gluten-free diet, you may experience better absorption of nutrients, less stomach discomfort, and a higher appetite. These factors can lead to weight gain.
Increased risk of heart disease
Being on a gluten-free diet is eating minimal amounts of whole grains. However, several studies have shown that people who eat more whole grains have a much lower risk of developing heart disease than people who eat less whole grains.
For example, a study of over 100,000 people who did not have celiac disease concluded that those who consumed less gluten had a higher risk of heart disease than the participants who ate more gluten.
A gluten-free diet may be slightly beneficial if you have a condition that causes gluten sensitivity, but also remember that the risks may outweigh the benefits. A gluten-free diet has only been proven beneficial to people with celiac disease.