The gluten-free diet has become one of the hottest crazes in the United States. With a number of gluten-free bakeries surfacing, a myriad of gluten-free foods and recipes to choose from, research studies from the academic community indicate that the gluten-free diet is here to stay.
Gluten, which is characterized as the proteins in wheat, rye, barley, and oats, has been the subject of new bodies of research. Avoiding foods that contain gluten has been suggested by many as a way to achieve a healthier lifestyle. Although only 1 in 140 people have celiac disease, an autoimmune disease caused by gluten intolerance that damages the small intestine, many people still try to avoid gluten in order to feel better.
Gluten sensitivity also affects a small portion of the population, but can cause significant health concerns. If you have unexplained symptoms after eating gluten-rich foods, ranging from nausea, vomiting, heartburn, flatulence, anxiety, weight loss, and fatigue – you may want to consult your doctor for a screening of celiac disease or avoid foods that contain gluten to see if you have an intolerance.
Even if you aren’t gluten intolerant or haven’t been diagnosed with celiac disease, the gluten-free diet still has a lot of benefits. In some cases, adopting a gluten-free diet has made some people drop and maintain their weight.
Due to the fad, the health food industry has been changing their advertising tactics and the production of their products so that they fit within the parameters of being gluten-free. It’s important to check the labels to ensure what you’re eating is, in fact, a gluten-free item. Going gluten-free doesn’t mean you aren’t faced with tempting food items, and eating gluten-free doesn’t automatically make your diet healthier.
Here are some tips to making the switch to a gluten-free diet:
#1 Gluten-Free Eaters Often End up Consuming Too Much Sugar
Are you excited because you just found a gluten-free cookie that mimics your favorite cookie that you ate before going gluten-free? Well, be careful because just because the food is labeled “gluten-free” doesn’t mean it isn’t packed with excess sugar.
Even though you’re skipping out on many of the processed carbohydrate options, many packaged gluten-free food items contain excess sugar to make up for flavor. Gluten-free cookies and pastries can be the worst to consume when it comes to excess sugar. They are likely to have just as much sugar if not more than their gluten-containing counterparts.
The best way to avoid adding excess sugar to your diet is to steer clear of as many packaged food items as you can. There are an abundant amount of naturally gluten-free items available that don’t contain as much sugar as a candy bar! Focus on eating whole foods to keep your diet as clean as possible, which will help you avoid packing on extra weight.
#2 Gluten Free Eaters May Decide to Eat Gluten Free “Most of the Time”
When you go gluten-free for health reasons in order to detect a gluten-sensitivity, it’s best to go 100% gluten free and to keep it out of your diet entirely. Yes, that means no pizza on Fridays – well, as long as you don’t get a crust containing gluten!
Some people want to go gluten-free but still eat some foods containing gluten, and this will make it harder to detect a sensitivity to gluten or keep you on track with your nutrition goals. So even though you may want to drink a wheat beer with dinner, stick to alcohols that contain no gluten, such as wine or clear liquor.
Try eliminating gluten for at least two months in order to determine if you need to have a gluten-free diet. Many people cut it out of their diets and feel so much better they never go back to eating it. Just keep in mind that when you choose to go gluten free, you must go 100% gluten free and not just avoid it half of the time.
#3 Some Gluten-Free Eaters End up Cutting out All Grains
It’s important to get some source of grains in your diet to help with brain health and its a misconception to avoid them all together. When you adopt a gluten-free diet, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to eat grain free.
There’s a lot of confusion about what’s gluten-free and what’s not, so many people cut out grains altogether. If you want to continue to eat grains, the good news is that you can with gluten-free options such as rice, quinoa, buckwheat, and amaranth. These grains leave you with a lot of food options and combinations so that you can make something delicious while still upholding your diet!
Thinking about going gluten-free? Keep these common mistakes in mind so that you don’t fall victim to many of the gluten free traps! While eating a gluten-free diet can be healthy you just want to make sure you do it the right way.