Gluten Free Diet: Benefits, Side Effects, And More

Medically reviewed by G. Liakeas, MD FACT CHECKED

The word Gluten is derived from the Latin word, ‘glue,’ as it gives a sticky texture to the flour when mixed with water.

It is a group of proteins that are found in the wheat plant, as well as in certain grains. The glue-like substance gives a sticky texture to the food products and helps them to give a rise when they are baked.

For example, bread. When we bake bread, we notice that it rises, and becomes fluffy. Gluten gives a chewy and satisfying texture to food products. It also adds flavor, protein, and surface to the food items. 

all about gluten free diet

A gluten-free diet is a process where one is supposed to exclude those food items that contain gluten, from their daily meal. Such as protein gluten, wheat plant, barley, and many more. 

Avoiding gluten completely, is not an easy task, as most of the food items that we consume consist of gluten, such as bread, pasta, pastries, cereals, beverages, and other baked food products.

One who is not sure if a particular food item contains gluten should read and check out the food label mentioned.

An easy way to completely avoid food items that contain gluten is to go for single ingredient and unprocessed food products.

Not many people are comfortable with gluten. Everyone cannot tolerate it. They suffer from various side effects.

People with celiac disease, wheat allergy, gluten ataxia, and non-celiac gluten sensitivity or gluten intolerance, cannot tolerate gluten.

Among the three, celiac disease is one of the most severe conditions. So, people must be careful.

Who Should Follow A Gluten-Free Diet?

Of course, every one of us could follow a gluten-free diet. But some people should strictly follow a gluten-free diet. Let us read and know about them.  

  • People Suffering From Celiac Disease

    People suffering from celiac disease are very sensitive to gluten.

    Even a small amount of gluten consumption may be harmful, as their immune system damages and attacks the lining of their small intestine.

    Some major symptoms of this disease are diarrhea, and people may also suffer from nausea, body aches, stomach aches, skin rashes, and other health issues related to digestion. 

    Thus, avoiding gluten is an effective treatment for people with celiac disease. 

  • People With Non-Celiac Gluten Intolerance

    Gluten intolerance or gluten sensitivity is a severe form of celiac disease. Some people suffer from non-celiac gluten sensitivity too.

    It is considered less serious than celiac disease, but it should also be taken well care of. People suffer from similar health issues, as people with celiac disease do. 

    They may suffer from diarrhea, constipation, headaches, rashes, hair fall problems, weakness, bloating, and other similar health issues.

    Some may also have the feeling of agitation in them. People with gluten intolerance and people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity cannot tolerate gluten in any form.

    Thus following a gluten-free diet would benefit them in many ways.
  • People With Gluten Ataxia

    A rare immune-mediated disease, that attacks the brain with the consumption of gluten.

    We know that even a tiny amount of gluten attacks the digestive system of those who cannot tolerate gluten.

    But when the situation becomes a bit more serious, the body starts attacking and damaging the central nervous system of the body. 

    Thus, the consumption of gluten may be very harmful, and people with gluten ataxia should follow a gluten-free diet.

  • People With Wheat Allergy

    Few people are only allergic to wheat and gluten is a protein that is found in wheat. To stay away from such food items that one is allergic to, reading food labels is a must.

    Always read the food labels of a particular product and when you are at a restaurant, don’t hesitate to ask about the ingredients. 

Benefits Of Gluten-Free Diet

We know that everything has its pros as well as cons. Neither everything does bad nor good. We have to go through every phase of it. 

Similarly, people who are willing to follow a gluten-free diet must know both the benefits as well the side effects of the same. There is much research on this as well. Let us know some of them.

  • May Keep You Away From Digestive Issues

    People who follow a completely gluten-free diet, remain distant from any digestive issues or bloating.

    A gluten-free diet improves the digestive system. It also prevents diarrhea, nausea, or any stomach-related health issue. 

    People with gluten intolerance or celiac disease, generally suffer from bloating and excess gas after the consumption of food products containing gluten.

  • May Help In Weight Loss

    Gluten-free diets help in losing weight. This diet enables people to lose weight as it removes junk from the regular meal and replaces it with green vegetables, fruits, and all sorts of healthy food items.

    Thus, consumption of unprocessed food items helps to shed fat from the body.

  • May Enhance Your Overall Energy

    A gluten-free diet improves overall energy levels. One who is sensitive to gluten suffers from weakness. 

    This is because consuming food products containing gluten makes their intestines weak.

    The absorption power of certain nutrients gets damaged. Thus, consumption of gluten-free products improves the absorption power and gives the intestines a chance to heal

Side Effects Of Gluten-Free Diet

  • Could Make You Sensitive To Suffering

    Removing gluten from the diet may make the body sensitive. It might be possible that your body was normal when you had gluten regularly, but soon after cutting it off, your body starts suffering.

    The body becomes sensitive. It is considered to be the most common side effect of a gluten-free diet.

    One might become more sensitive after having a single bite of gluten right after their gluten-free diet. The body sensitivity varies from person to person.

  • Could Cause Nutritional Deficiency

    People who suffer from celiac disease, are generally at the risk of having a nutritional deficiency.

    This involves a deficiency in calcium, minerals, zinc, iron, fiber, vitamins A, D, and many more.

    It is believed that a gluten-free diet does not allow the body to absorb certain nutrients that are essential for the body.

    One of the basic reasons for the nutritional unbalance in the body is due to the choice of having “gluten-free” over nutritious food items like fresh fruits and green vegetables.

  • Could Affect Your Earnings

    Maintaining a proper gluten-free diet requires high maintenance. All the commercially available food products, that are labeled as “gluten-free” charge high prices.

    Thus, people with not-so-high budgets may find this diet difficult to maintain. This type of diet becomes costly for them.

  • Reason For Weight Loss

    Not only gluten-free diet helps in losing weight, but also it encourages weight gain. Some gluten-free food products contain high amounts of sugar and fat.

    To avoid the risk of having extra sugar as well as fat content, one must always carefully go through the labels.

    One should thoroughly read the nutrient levels, calories from sugar, and calories from fats.

Conclusion

It has been found that a gluten-free diet is beneficial for people with celiac disease, gluten intolerance, and other such allergies.

People who do not have such diseases, they should make sure that they get enough proteins, nutrients, and fibers from other food items if they cut out gluten from regular meals. 

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