Going gluten-free seems to be the latest trend that has caught on and, as a result, has turned into a £200m industry. But why is this? It is understandable for people who suffer from coeliac disease or gluten intolerance but what makes people turn gluten-free voluntarily?
A gluten-free diet does have many benefits but it is important to know the facts first. Starting with what actually is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and sometimes oats, to help it rise and keep its shape. It is a combination of gliadin and glutenin which is joined with starch in various grains. It’s perfectly natural, but can have a nasty reactions with people who have a gluten intolerance.
So why do people choose to avoid gluten voluntarily and what are the benefits?
Gluten is a common food allergen and many people live with some degree of gluten sensitivity and have never been diagnosed. Gluten contains a protein called WGA which is largely responsible for ill effects such as gut inflammation and digestive complaints. That is why people who suffer with some degree of gluten intolerance and don’t realise it, feel a lot better and have more energy after choosing to avoid gluten products.
According to Dr William Davis, author of “Wheat Belly”, gluten also appears to be an appetite stimulant and can be addictive!Gluten-derived polypeptides pass into the brain and give you the sense of euphoria after eating a gluten product. This can lead to health issues such as diabetes and weight gain if you have too much and can’t stop!
However it is important to not get confused with gluten-free being “healthier”. A gluten-free cake for example, will be no healthier than eating a normal cake as it still contains the same amount of fat, sugars and salts, just minus the gluten.Not only that, but by excluding whole groups of foods, you are putting yourself at risk of lowering intakes of certain vitamins and minerals.
So, whilst the rise in popularity of gluten-free products has made the lives of gluten-intolerant sufferers a lot easier as there is now so much more food options, people who chose a gluten-free diet voluntarily in the hopes of losing weight should be aware that the rules of being healthy have not changed. Everyone reacts differently to gluten so as long as you stick to a balanced diet, cutting out gluten probably won’t cause any harm and you might even feel better for it if you have a gluten-intolerance you didn’t know about!
For those who do live with one of these conditions, our Lavolio sweets are all gluten-free and you can find our five wonderful Collections on our online shop here.