You hear a lot about the health benefits of a gluten free diet, but it's worthwhile to consider whether or not following such a program poses any health dangers. Fortunately, there is little evidence that following a gluten free diet poses any serious long-term health risks. But, there are a few things you should watch out for, and some of these things are true of any diet you could try. Following are the top 4 things you should watch out for on a gluten free diet:
1. Lowered Bacteria Production in the Gut
One of the few legitimate health concerns that can be directly attributed to a GF diet is a lack of good bacteria production in the gut. According to one study published in the British Journal of Health, a group of people who did not have Celiac disease were placed on a gluten free diet. At the end of the trial period, the amount of good bacteria had been significantly reduced, as had other markers that indicate good immune health.
If you opt for a GF lifestyle, then you need to be sure to take a probiotic supplement, or add yogurt to your meals. Either one or both will help you combat this issue.
Another health problem that arises from the GF lifestyle is constipation. Substitute grains, especially rice, are not as high in fiber as wheat products. If you switch to substitute grains but neglect to increase your fruit and veggie consumption, you could suffer from constipation.
Be sure to eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies while on the GF diet, and drink lots of water. If you still suffer from constipation, try an over the counter remedy. Consult with a pharmacist to make sure it doesn't contain gluten.
3. Boredom and Complacency
The number one risk of a gluten free diet is growing too complacent or bored with your eating plan. If you need to break out of a rut, go online and find new products and recipes to temp your palate. Join a GF group and swap stories. If you get complacent or bored, it's easy to backslide and begin eating a lot of gluten-containing products, thinking it will never hurt to try a little.
If you have been diagnosed with Celiac disease, staying on a GF diet is necessary to your good health. You will have to work at keeping this diet fresh and exciting for the rest of your life!
4. Overindulging with Too Many Gluten Free treats
Another possible risk is overindulging on GF treats. Gluten free does not automatically mean healthy. So you cannot justify eating a tray of GF brownies by thinking that it's good for you. If you overindulge on GF sweets, you are doing as much harm to your health as you would with their gluten-containing counterparts.
A treat every now and then is great and will keep you happy with the program. But, don't think that you can eat as much of every GF product as you want--you still need to be careful.
As with any diet, you need to strike a balance when opting for a gluten free lifestyle. Stay away from products that contain it, but don't overindulge in others thinking it's good for your health. Use some common sense, and you will do just fine on a GF diet.