Gluten Free: Is it necessary?

A very popular trend in nutrition right now is going gluten free. First of all, I will explain what it is. Gluten is a protein in wheat and other related grains like barley and rye. There are known diseases and conditions that should avoid it such as celiac disease or people with known gluten sensitivity. Other conditions that should try to avoid it are people with ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid.  You should see a gastroenterologist if you have any of these problems.

There are many alternatives to products with gluten, although there is a glaring problem with most of them.  The glycemic index of many gluten free products is often higher than that of products with gluten.  Glycemic index is a rating of how fast after a carbohydrate is ingested that it will raise your blood sugar, ultimately causing spikes in your insulin secretion and promoting fat storage in an oversimplified explanation.

Diets high in any carbohydrates lead to weight gain for the majority of us, moderation is the key.  Some athletes in competition season may require more carbohydrates in their diets, but not if trying to cut weight in the off-season.  Your choice of carbohydrates is important to losing weight, and you should get most of them them from vegetables and fruits and some whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, Ezekiel bread and steel cut oats that are low on the glycemic index. The moral of the story: a gluten free cookie is still a cookie, that doesn’t mean it’s healthy and you can eat as many as you want.

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