Imagine a glass of cranberry and raspberry smoothie with quinoa berry bowl and quinoa pumpkin pancakes waiting for you at the breakfast table to wish you ‘Guten tag’. Yes, you got it right! I am talking of a gluten-free breakfast to wish you a good day (Guten tag is the German word for ‘hello’ or‘good day!’). Eating a gluten-free diet is in vogue these days. It may be a good idea for some, but not for all. Therefore, get your facts right before you plunge into gluten-free food.

What is gluten?

Gluten is a complex protein. When two proteins, prolamin and glutenin, are mixed together in water, they combine to form gluten. Gluten is found in wheat, barley, rye, some ice-creams and ketchups. The prolamins are called gliadin, secalin and hordein in wheat, rye and barley,respectively, and are responsible for the adverse reaction in patients of celiac disease.

In people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, gluten consumed with the food items prepared from wheat, barley, etc., is not digested and causes damage to their small intestine. This small intestinal damage, thereafter, hampers the absorption of essential vitamins and minerals leading to nutritional deficiencies. A gluten-free diet is highly recommended only to those suffering from celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.

For all those who can digest gluten, a diet free of gluten is not needed. Of note, whole wheat, rye and barley are rich in fibre, which lowers cholesterol and improves digestion. There is a misconception amongst people that gluten-free diet helps in losing weight. On the contrary, not necessarily all gluten-free diets are healthier and may, in fact, lead to weight gain.

Befriend a gluten-free diet?

People who are inherently unable to digest gluten or have gluten sensitivity require a gluten-free diet. For people who opt for it without a medical condition, it helps them generate more awareness about food they eat. They end up eating less processed food and more natural foods. It introduces better quality grains like quinoa in their diet. This diet ensures that they consume good carbohydrates rather than refined carbs.

Say no to gluten-free diet.

In the bargain of switching to a gluten-free diet (in spite of being able to digest it), you may lose out on other essential nutrients like iron, folate and fibre. As you are not eating enough carbs, unhealthy weight loss may occur out of starvation. On the cost front, a gluten-free diet may burn a hole in your pocket, as gluten-free food is expensive and its preparation is time consuming.Remember that there is no point in eating some food with gluten and some without it. It is no good to follow half a diet. So, whatever you chose, follow it 100% to reap the benefits.