The Benefits of a Gluten-Free Diet
Gluten-free diets have become almost ubiquitous in Western food culture. Menus of all kinds now have “GF” labels on certain foods, the most popular snacks and ingredients have gluten-free substitutes, and now markets have entire sections dedicated to gluten-free ingredients. But this diet is more than just a passing fad or trend—there are several benefits of a gluten-free diet. Here are just a few.
What Does Gluten-Free Mean?
Gluten is a family of proteins often found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, and a few other grainy foods. It’s what helps bread to rise and gives foods like pasta a chewy, satisfying texture. Many people can digest gluten just fine, but not the rising population of people with celiac disease, wheat allergies, gluten ataxia, or non-celiac gluten insensitivity (NCGS).
Celiac disease is not some virus but an autoimmune disorder, where the body mistakenly attacks itself after gluten enters the system. Allergies can have varying levels of severity, but in general, people with these sensitivities can experience all kinds of gastrointestinal issues from gluten.
What Are the Benefits of Going Gluten-Free?
A gluten-free diet is a strong recommendation for those with gluten sensitivities. But even for those without sensitivities, there are several health benefits to skipping out on gluten.
- Improve energy levels: Gluten can wreak havoc on your intestines, even if you’re not sensitive to it. If your gut isn’t absorbing your food properly, you’ll be missing out on the energy it gives you.
- Promote healthy weight loss or gain: Too much gluten can cause things like diarrhea, bloating, gas, and more. Not only is this uncomfortable, but it can lead to nutritional deficiencies and imbalances, causing you to lose weight or gain weight or just feel bloated all the time. Removing gluten will get you back on track.
- Reduce joint pain and headaches: Too much gluten can cause inflammation around the joints and in the brain. Ease up on the gluten if you have constant headaches or achy joints.
- Improve skin health and reduce hair loss: gluten-sensitive people are more at risk for rashes, eczema, and psoriasis. Nutritional deficiencies from gluten can also cause hair loss. Even if you’re not sensitive, try cutting out gluten and see if any skin problems you have disappear and if your hair starts growing back.
- Reduce lactose intolerance: many people with gluten sensitivities are also lactose-intolerant, as their gut lining struggles to break down lactose in dairy products. Removing gluten may strengthen your gut and make dairy products more digestible for you.
Try Gluten-Free Snacks from Plant Snacks
Even though you may have to skip out on some foods to go gluten-free, you don’t have to sacrifice all of your favorite foods. Plant Snacks started with the idea that anyone, even those who have gluten sensitivities, should enjoy snacks that are both delicious and nutritious. Our gluten-free foods include chips and crackers-like Thins made from a naturally gluten-free flour blend. It’s also free of the Big 8 allergens, vegan, and delivers protein, fiber, and vitamin D. But best of all, they taste so good, you can’t tell they’re gluten!