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Gluten-free, explained

Gluten-free, explained

Is gluten-free actually better? There are arguments for both sides. Read the pros and cons and decide for yourself!

Gluten is the protein component that’s found in wheat, barley and rye. However, it’s also hidden in a number of everyday food, such as ketchup and ice cream. Cutting it out in a bid to improve wellbeing has become one of the biggest health trends in recent years. A poll by YouGov found that 60 per cent of adults in the UK have bought a gluten-free product at some point, while 10 per cent of households contain someone who believes gluten to be harmful to health. But should you adopt a gluten-free diet even if you don’t suffer an intolerance? Read on for the pros and cons, and then make the decision for yourself!

PROS

Staying symptom-free

Suffering a sensitivity to gluten comes with unsightly symptoms like bloating after eating foods like bread or pasta. You may even experience skin complains like acne and your digestive tract may become inflamed. Steering clear of gluten (if you need to), can help to reverse these symptoms in a matter of weeks.

Following a healthier diet

You can find gluten in highly processed products like ice cream and cake. By eliminating these from your diet, you’ll also be making big improvements to your health. Ditching processed foods will always offer an immediate health boost. It’s a win-win situation!

Improving your nutrient status

Gluten intolerance takes a toll on your digestive system. This means that it can inhibit your body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food properly. Staying away from gluten (if necessary), however, can give your gut the chance to heal and improve absorbability of vitamins and minerals. 

CONS

Low energy levels

As we know, cutting out gluten also means cutting out carbs, which means you may not be getting enough of this macronutrient in your diet. Ditching carbohydrates can have a negative effect on energy and concentration levels and can also result in nutrient deficiencies – B vitamins, for example, are commonly found in everyday foods like bread. Making smart substitutes however – chowing down on brown rice and gluten-free oats – will help to keep levels of B vitamins balanced.

Deficiency in fibre

Fibrous foods often contain gluten, so going gluten-free can affect your daily fibre intake. Swapping gluten-free products for fresh fruit and vegetables especially apples, pears and sweet potato will help you to reach the recommended 30g daily fibre quota.

Higher intake of preservatives

While some gluten-free branded products are fortified with nutrients they can be quite high in bad-for-your-bod preservatives, so always make sure to read food labels properly and where possible stick to natural options.

Check out our Ultimate Guide to Nutrition for everything you need to know about making healthy choices every day.

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