So what are the risks of avoiding gluten?
Other than those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, eating gluten can be a great staple in your diet. Dr. Benjamin Lebwohl, director of clinical research at the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University states that ‘there’s no reason for someone who feels well to start a gluten-free diet to promote wellness’ and that it’s not an ‘intrinsically wellness-promoting diet’.
This is because grains that contain gluten also contain fiber and other key nutrients that are integral to a good diet. Without fiber, you are more at risk of developing a number of health complications like stomach complaints, colon cancer and poor gut health which has been linked to a number of issues from mental to physical health.
The recommended requirement of fiber is between 20 to 40 grams per day, according to the FDA, but the majority of Americans fall significantly below this at only 15 grams per day. Fiber is mainly found in starchy vegetables and gluten-containing grains and products, so avoiding gluten can put you at risk of deficiency.
Those who have decided to go gluten-free for weight loss, have largely succeeded because they have decreased their total caloric intake. Carbohydrates that contain gluten like wheat, barley or rye are often calorically dense so cutting these out of your diet reduces calories unless replaced with other foods.
But weight loss doesn’t necessarily occur, nor does it necessarily indicate an improvement of total health. Gluten that has not been hybridized or GMO is actually a healthy, fiber-rich, nutrient-dense food. But it depends what your source of gluten is.
Common wheat has been hybridized and is rarely organically produced, so can cause a reaction even in those who don’t suffer from celiac or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Einkorn is a nutritious grain that we source from an organic farm in Idaho that has a completely different gluten structure to common wheat. This means that it doesn’t cause the same reaction in your body, which has been a common complaint that pushes people towards a gluten-free diet.
Gluten isn’t inherently bad for you, but the way it is produced these days can strip it of its nutritional value and cause some digestive issues. Rather than cutting out gluten completely, switch to einkorn products. This way you can improve the quality of the gluten consumed and enjoy the benefits associated with a diet high in fiber and nutrients.