Gluten free diets associated with higher risks of nutritional deficiencies

USA – A new study conducted by the Harvard Medical School has revealed that dropping gluten from diets can easily result into nutritional deficiencies, particularly for those consumers without celiac disease.

Gluten is a protein which is found in certain grains such as, wheat, rye and barley and has been used in a variety of pastas, breads, cereals and other processed foods to ensure that they maintain their form.

According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, gluten acts as a trigger for those who are prone to having celiac disease – a gastrointestinal disorder that results from consumption of the protein – though it is primarily hereditary.

Moreover, Celiac disease has also been associated with a host of other inflammatory, gluten-related conditions which may stem from gluten sensitivity or wheat allergies.

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Researchers are now concerned that gluten-free dieting may result to lack of essential Vitamins Bs, folate and fiber that comes from consuming fortified breads, cereals and pastas.

According to the study, many dieters who haven’t been diagnosed with celiac disease adhere to gluten-free diets based on the perception that weight loss and reduced inflammation are automatic benefits of the diet.

While many individuals do report improved weight loss when they avoid gluten, the researchers maintain that it is not always clear if the weight loss is as a result of decreased inflammatory reaction or that carbs have decreased and been replaced by protein and fat, which is often favorable due to its positive impact on blood sugar.

In fact, there are no published reports showing that a gluten-free diet produces weight loss in persons without celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, according to the study.

Diet Demand Medical Weight Loss has researched the effects of gluten-free dieting and advises that:

“Rather than eliminating gluten-containing foods and their nutritional benefits from the diet altogether, individuals who don’t have diagnosed celiac disease but have had challenges weight loss or obesity try a 4-week trial of dieting without gluten.”

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According to Diet Demand, this approach will enable celiac disease free consumers see if there is an improvement in energy, mental clarity, bloating, gas, indigestion – rather than eliminating gluten permanently.

“This can be very revealing and helps individuals to decide whether a gluten-free diet is right for them,” the researchers added.

Through the research, Diet Demand says that individuals can avoid the potential pitfalls of adopting a gluten-free diet, especially for persons without diagnosed gluten-related disorders.

The company’s medical director says, “Ultimately, the weight loss equation can’t stray too far from energy in and energy out, so eating gluten free doesn’t automatically mean any difference in calories unless there is an effort to restrict them.

“So, fitting your macros to the diet target is more important for most people than whether a fraction of their carbohydrates comes from gluten containing grains, versus vegetable starch or fruit (neither of which have gluten).” 

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