Most people I talk to have tried more than one type of restrictive fad diet, which usually ends in a binge followed by a self induced guilt-trip and tears. Egg free, gluten free, dairy free, nut free, meat free… Whats the evidence suggesting we should do these? In the case of allergy or intolerance, yes removing these from the diet is unquestionable. However for the rest of us, as hiligted in the clip below from Jimmy Kimmel, many of us are doing these without even knowing why, or what we are actually doing.
The risk of these diets is that we are excluding important nutrients from our diet, making things harder for ourselves, restricting unnecessarily.
For you gluten curious aficionados…
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a mix of two proteins, gliadin and glutenin.
What’s Gluten found in?
Wheat, triticale, oats, barley, rye, spelt. Due to its protein content it is also often the basis of imitation meats.
Should I cut it out?
Unless you have gluten sensitivity or Coeliac disease, you do not require a gluten free diet. If you have Coeliac disease an autoimmune condition, the treatment is a life long gluten free diet.
What are the benefits of a gluten and wheat in my nutrition plan?
A diet rich in wholegrains including those little gluten containing ones will give you… Fibre! Vitamins and minerals! Improved weight management and reduction in risk of metabolic syndrome and type two diabetes. If you throw in oats, you throw in some cholesterol lowering benefits too! Then there is tryptophan found in grains too, tryptophan is an essential amino acid and a precursor to serotonin, important to our sleep and mood!
I could go on, but you get the idea right?
Does gluten make me fat?
Short answer… NO! Firstly, leave ‘fat’ talk out of it. Fat is a natural part of the body that serves many important biological roles. Even on a gluten free diet a person can become overweight if their energy intake is excessive. A balanced intake of gluten and non-gluten containing foods can be beneficial to maintaining a healthy weight.
So what’s the problem?
We all love a good fad diet. We all like to blame something for our conflict with our bodies. Instead of blaming the teeny tiny little gluten guy, why not look at our overall nutrition. Instead of cutting things out, how about we make sure we are getting all that good stuff in? Are you eating to your hunger and fullness signals, are you aware of emotional eating? I know its not exciting to say ‘oh I totally ate to my fullness signal the other day’ but it can be much more beneficial if we stop abusing our bodies with extreme diets or quick fixes that can’t be maintained in the long term.
We need to enjoy our relationship with food and ourselves. Be kind to yourself.