Saturday, June 22, 2013

Gluten-free Diet: Yay or Nay?

Hello again!

Someone asked me on twitter today about the benefits of the gluten-free diet/lifestyle that has gained tremendous popularity over the last little while. And of course, I thought it would be a good topic to blog about.

DISCLAIMER: I am not an expert. In fact, I am not even a science student. However, my knowledge about fitness, and in this case, evaluating the gluten-free diet is based on research, and my own experiences. With that said, there should also be mention that research on the health benefits of the gluten-free is still inconclusive. Nevertheless, there are indications of such benefits.

First off, what is gluten? Simply put, it is an ingredient in main types of grains that about 50-70% of the population are sensitive to. However, most people are not aware of this. An acronym to remember what contains gluten is BROWS, which stands for barley, rye, oat, wheat, and smelt. There are other products that contains gluten, but these are the primary ones.

Now, how does gluten sensitivity affect us? Well for most, it causes digestive problems. One example is from strength coach/strongman Elliott Hulse. Prior to eliminating gluten from his diet, he was a very gassy guy, which did affect his life. However, after doing some research and deciding to eliminate gluten from his diet he realized that the ill-timed farting stopped. And of course, Elliott is just one of the many who did not even realize they had gluten sensitivity.

gluten intolerance
Okay, let's talk a little bit about the health benefits of eliminating, or reducing the amount of gluten you consume. Let's say you are not sensitive to gluten, but are still interested in what this lifestyle can do for you. The main health benefit is that it is reducing/eliminating the consumption of a lot of the chemicals that are used in modifying most products that contain gluten. In particular, you would be avoiding many types of processed foods, which are not good for you. So from the health standpoint, it makes sense.

Another reason why some people choose to adopt it is to lose weight. Do note that there has not been enough research to back this claim. However, just from looking at the foods you are eliminating, which are mainly processed foods, and bad carbs, you're looking at an increase in the consumption of goods carbs, ie more fruits/vegetables. With that said, I am definitely not saying that this will help you lose weight. I am against "diets." I prefer "lifestyle." It is impossible to lose weight or to maintain a healthy body by merely adopting a temporary solution. It needs to be a lifestyle change. And of course, although fitness is dependent primarily on what you eat, about 20% of that is also dependent upon being active. But let's not go into that. At least not for now. Perhaps I'll write a post another time about my thoughts on fitness and healthy living, and what I do to become the strongest version of myself.

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this very brief summary on the benefits of adopting a gluten-free diet, and let me know if you have any other questions.

Until next time.


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