A gluten-free diet has surpassed being practised by only those allergic to the cereal grain protein. Gluten has taken on somewhat of a stigma, and avoiding it begun to believed to be the healthy thing to do.
While there is reason and medical research to back cutting out gluten as a treatment to a variety of health issues, there’s also a definite ‘trend’ element and it’s very likely a marketing ploy in many instances. A major problem is that people begin to equate ‘Gluten-Free’ with ‘healthy’ and that often isn’t the case.
Gluten and the Gut
Many functional medicine practitioners, who take a more holistic approach to health and consider the relationship between food and healing, recommend removing gluten from the diet.
There is a definite connection between what we eat, the microbes in our gut and chronic disease. Research has revealed that gluten can permeate the lining of the gut, which ultimately leads to inflammation. This is why doctors may suggest going gluten-free to people suffering from autoimmune conditions other than the more obvious ones like celiac disease, which entail specific gluten-intolerance.
Gluten is a common sensitivity, so if you’re trying to identify the cause of an inflammatory condition it’s a good place to start. It is, however, by no means an end. Everyone is unique and affected differently by myriad types of foods… such as sugar.
Sugar, processed food and certain fats are also major sources of inflammation. This is where the issue with marketing and health ideology lies.
You’re trying to get your grocery shop done quickly and don’t have time to read every single label and then search unknown ingredients on your phone. So you grab the box that boasts “Gluten-Free”, assuming it’s the healthier option, only to get home and realise the second ingredient is sugar… then palm oil and a host of other ingredients you don’t even understand.
This is one of the issues we’re solving at KNOWITWORLD, because that feeling of being deceived is frustrating. And a lot of the time you only realise you’ve been misled after purchasing that product multiple times.
So, what’s the verdict?
What it essentially comes down to is being a savvy shopper. If you’ve decided to give ‘gluten-free’ a go, hoping to heal your gut, by all means it can be a powerful tool. However, it’s crucial to understand which other ingredients are present in the gluten-free products you’re purchasing, and what they mean. With the food knowledge tools we provide at KnowIT, this understanding is well within reach.