More and more people choose to follow a low-gluten diet, although they are not allergic to this compound which is commonly found in many types of foods, including pasta, bread, crackers, snacks, seasonings, and spice mixes, but as well as in dozens of other products you might find at your local grocery store. But is a low-gluten diet healthy or not?
Researchers at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen, helped by an international team of experts, released a research report in the Nature Communications debating the pros and cons of low-gluten diet that is rich in fiber. According to them, such a diet affect the gut bacteria, decreasing gastrointestinal discomfort and helping followers lose weight.
“We demonstrate that, in comparison with a high-gluten diet, a low-gluten,fiber-rich diet induces changes in the structure and function of the complex intestinal ecosystem of bacteria, reduces hydrogen exhalation, and leads to improvements in self-reported bloating. Moreover, we observed a modest weight loss, likely due to increased body combustion triggered by the altered gut bacterial functions,” explained Professor Oluf Pedersen, the study’s leading author.
Is A Low-Gluten Diet Healthy Or Not?
After analyzing about 60 middle-aged healthy Danish adults, the researchers concluded that the changes healthy people observe when following a low-gluten diet rich in fiber are not caused by reducing the gluten intake but by the alterations in the gut bacteria caused by the fiber consumption. Also, the experts noticed that the type of fiber is essential.
Accordingly, reducing fibers from wheat and rye and substituting them with those from vegetables, brown rice, corn, oat, and quinoa is a much salutary option. In short, a low-gluten diet is indeed healthy if the right fiber-rich foods are consumed.
However, “gluten-free may not necessarily be the healthy choice many people think it is. Most gluten-free food items available on the market today are massively deprived of dietary fibers and natural nutritional ingredients. Therefore, there is an obvious need for availability of fiber-enriched, nutritionally high-quality gluten-free food items which are fresh or minimally processed to consumers who prefer a low-gluten diet,” Professor Pedersen concluded.
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