A gluten-free diet is a dietary model in which all products from oats, wheat, barley and other grains are eliminated. Gluten is a protein that humans don’t necessarily need, so it can be taken out of one’s diet without any problems. However, doing so is typically only recommended for someone with gluten intolerance, sensitive, or an allergy.
Up until a few years ago, people would only adapt a gluten-free diet for these reasons. However, due to its possible weight-loss benefits, many people have decided to implement it.
That’s because, unlike other diet regimens, it proposes a balanced plan that doesn’t cause metabolic outflows or other side effects. Plus, it’s easier to maintain, since it includes all the nutrient groups.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the gluten-free diet.
Reasons to Follow and Gluten-Free Diet
There are other reasons for someone to follow a gluten-free diet, other than having a disorder like celiac’s disease.
Even though grains are at the base of the food pyramid, this diet requires finding healthy substitutes that are free of this protein.
This diet is based mainly around the combination of natural products that don’t contain gluten, which have a more balanced composition of micro and macro-nutrients. For example, foods like lean meats, fish, vegetables and pseudo grains are all accepted.
Since it limits one’s consumption of processed foods, it’s a good option for weight loss that won’t negatively affect your health. Additionally, it helps control excess inflammation, so it can help relieve and prevent various diseases.
Basically, a gluten-free diet can help:
- Strengthen the immune system and increases defenses.
- Reduce inflammation and control irritable bowel syndrome.
- Control type I diabetes.
- Control symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
- Treat thyroiditis.
- Prevent and treat cardiovascular diseases.
- Control certain skin diseases.
Steps for Starting the Diet
When it comes to a gluten-free diet, you should definitely talk to your doctor or nutritionist before starting one. Although it’s a safe nutritional model, you’ll still need to adapt it to your individual needs, age, health and weight.
However, there are some simple steps that you can take when starting to adopt this diet.
1. Eliminate Gluten-containing Grains
The basis of a gluten-free diet is to eliminate any grains that contain that protein. Even though they may be considered healthy foods, you have to remove them from your diet and find gluten-free substitutes.
This list includes:
- Semolina flour
- Derivatives like bread, pasta, cookies, etc.
2. Look at Food Labels
People who decide to follow this kind of diet have to carefully check food labels to make sure they avoid any products that contain gluten or traces of it. However, some companies have started to label their products ‘gluten-free’ to make it easier.
3. Cook at Home
It’s easier to control what’s on your plate when you make your meals at home. That way, you can be sure you’re using organic foods that don’t contain this protein.
Unfortunately, many restaurants use flour in a lot of their recipes, even their meats.
4. Know How to Recognize ‘Gluten in Disguise’
Watch out! Gluten can also be disguised in products, which can make it hard to identify. Check the labels to make sure the product doesn’t contain gluten, grains, flour, modified starches or starch. Also, it shouldn’t contain malt extracts or thickeners.
5. Check Your Breakfast Foods
A lot of breakfast foods contain gluten. Therefore, make sure you stay away from boxed cereals, energy bars and any products with starch and flour.
6. Replace Corn and Rice
In the market, there are pseudo grains that are meant to replace ingredients like corn and rice. Some options like quinoa, millet and buckwheat have become popular because of their high nutritional content.
7. Drinks can also Contain Gluten
Beverages that are made from grains or that contain malt, like barley water, beer and certain machine coffees also contain gluten. Don’t ignore this detail, because a lot of people tend to only think about solid foods.
Are you thinking about following a gluten-free diet? Keep all of these recommendations in mind and enjoy the benefits. In addition, make sure you’re still following a well-balanced diet that’s not too restrictive or low-calorie.
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