A Good Reason Not to Cut Gluten from Your Diet
Gluten-free products and diet plans have become popular over the last several years. While these foods were originally intended for those people who suffer from gluten intolerance or allergies, they have become quite popular among health and fitness enthusiasts, being endorsed by athletes and celebrities.
But while following a gluten-free diet may seem to have great fitness benefits, these food choices have become quite controversial as of late, and for good reason. Recently published research has been pointing out that this dietary restriction may not be good for everyone after all, and it may even come with some serious health risks.
The American Heart Association has recently presented some data that seems to link low or gluten-free diets with type 2 diabetes, raising a serious health concern. The study, which has been conducted during a period of over 30 years, observed the health of 200,000 individuals who consumed different percentages of gluten in their daily lives. Perhaps surprisingly enough, it was found that those with a gluten-rich diet — 20%, to be exact — were 15% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than the individuals who followed low or gluten-free diets.
The reason for this may be linked to the amount of fiber included in the participants' diets, as it was found in another study by the National Cancer Institute that those who ate more fiber - especially the cereal kind - were 22% less likely to suffer a fatality than people who consumed less of this micronutrient.
Unfortunately, most gluten-free foods are poor in fiber, which not only makes them less nutritious than their regular counterparts, but also leaves those who follow gluten-free diets more vulnerable to certain diseases.
Gluten-free diets were invented specifically for people with celiac disease, a genetic autoimmune condition that causes individuals to suffer damage to their small intestines when they ingest foods that contain gluten, which is a protein found in grains such as wheat and barley. The absorption of nutrients is hindered as a result of this damage and it can cause serious, long-term health problems.
Celiac disease is relatively rare, as only an estimated 1% of the population has been diagnosed with the condition. Gluten-free diets have, however, become increasingly popular over the last few years, and the number of people adopting them has allegedly tripled since 2014.
The popularity of gluten-free diets among individuals who do not have any medical dietary restrictions should be a cause for concern, as more and more studies show that such people could in fact be endangering their health by depriving themselves from important nutrients through these self-imposed, extreme diets.