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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What are the pros and cons to a gluten-free diet?

    Besides people who are allergic to gluten, I have noticed that some people go on a gluten-free diet by choice. Why is this when SO many foods have gluten? What are the pros and cons?
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  • 2

    Thanks

    Nyema Hermiston

    Homeopath, Naturopath, Registered Nurse

    Nyema has been in ‘general practice’ treating adults and children for acute and chronic illnesses for over 20 years. She is Vice President of The ... View Profile

    The pros are, that if you are gluten allergic or sensitive, you are going to feel very much better on a gluten free diet.
    The cons are that you will have to change your dietary habits, and socialising can be tricky.
    It is so much easier to be gluten free nowadays, so the downside isn't as down as it used to be.

  • 1

    Thanks

    Leah is a medically trained dietitian, who understands. With intimate knowledge of the Medical Model of Care, Leah felt that there had to be more ... View Profile

    Gluten is found in so many products because gluten is a protein in the grains of wheat, rye, barley and possibly oats.  These grains are used  in many staple foods in our western diet - breads, pasta, cakes, biscuits etc.  They are also used extensively in the food manufacturing as thickeners, bindrs, fillers, and again, the base for many easy to buy products.

    People may choose to go gluten free for a few reasons.  Some people do feel better and have less bloating and other tummy symptoms; some do have a sensitivity to other naturally occuring chemicals in these grains that contain gluten.  For others,  it makes it easier to eat healthier.  It is easier to say no to pizza, burgers, cakes etc when these foods aren't gluten free and choose to be ‘gluten free’.  By saying no to these high energy foods makes loosing weight easier.  

    To know with confidence if you would benefit from changing to a gluten free diet, it is best to get tested for Coeliac Disease first.  If this test isn't done before changes to your eating, then you may have the disease and not know it.  If you do have coeliac disease and ignored, it can turn serious down the line with aneamia, osteoprosis, skin conditions, fatigue, stunted growth in children as well as serious gut health issues. 

    Points to take home - if you think you are reacting when eating flour based products - breads, pasta, cakes, biscuits, breakfast cereals, etc get it checked with the GP and an APD dietitian to guide you through the process and not jump to conclusion running the risk of missing out of other really important nutritients for health. 

    regards, Leah 

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