I have always wondered why individuals choose to devote themselves to a diet that fails to include gluten when they have no reason to do so. For persons who are allergic to gluten, or who are intolerant to it, obviously a gluten-free diet is a necessity in order to maintain steady and healthy digestion. However, for persons who choose to eliminate gluten from their diet for no medical reason and do so simply because of personal preference, their choice can potentially end up damaging their digestive abilities as opposed to enhancing them.
Gluten, in basic terms, is a type of protein. More specifically, it is a combination of different proteins, and is most predominant in wheat and related grains, such as rye and barley. Individuals who are intolerant to gluten or who are allergic to it are unable to properly digest the proteins it is composed of, meaning when they consume it they experience digestive distress such as bloating, cramping, diarrhea, or extreme illness if a person has Celiac disease.
Because gluten is a protein, it is an excellent source of numerous vitamins and minerals, and also fibre. When individuals choose to abstain from consuming gluten without valid reasoning, they are denying their bodies of vital nutrients. Gluten-free products are typically composed of refined grains, meaning they are much lower in nutrients than products that contain gluten. In fact, persons who exercise use of gluten-free diets are more likely to be lacking in nutrients such as fibre, iron, folate, niacin, thiamine, calcium, vitamin B12, phosphorus and zinc (scientificamerican.com).
It is certainly possible to refrain from eating gluten in a healthy manner, but to do so you have be aware of the different ways you can consume the nutrients that are lacking in gluten-free products. Research the topic and speak to your doctor in order to determine how to go about maintaining a healthy and gluten-free diet.
Or, if you’re able to eat gluten, just eat it.