Gluten-Free Diet and Products may be the most talked about topics in nutrition but also the least understood ones, I believe so, honestly.
There is even a general stigma with the word Gluten that any product that is Gluten-Free builds authority and trust amongst the users that it should be any good.
But then there is an even more aggressive strategy than being Gluten-Free where people prefer Grain-Free products over Gluten-Free products to ease their digestion and remove inflammation.
Gluten Free vs Grain Free, which one is better? Let’s dive in.
If you are planning to initiate a gluten-free life, let me ask you. What is Gluten actually?
Well, it is a protein that is found in Grain Diet. You will find them in loads of everyday foods. So, What is high Gluten Flour used for?
Gluten is the protein that keeps Pasta and Bread keeping their shape and texture consistent and why you’ll find Gluten Free foods lacking texture.
So, What is High Protein Flour? It is often added to processed foods to increase protein content and add flavor to the food.
|Common Gluten Foods|
Many people also ask whether high-gluten flour is the same as bread flour and is bread flour high high-gluten. The technical answer is no.
Because, high gluten flour usually contains high protein ranging from 12.5 to 14.5 percent while simple bread flour ranges between 12 to 14 percent. However, in taste, both of them will almost be similar.
Why Gluten doesn’t get love because there is a healthy population that exists that is not healthy for Gluten.
You might be surprised to know that about 3 million Americans suffer from digestive issues and inflammation in their intestines due to Gluten.
I was also surprised to read this, it is a disease called Autoimmune Disorder Coeliac.
Nowadays, people have the notion that a Gluten-Free diet will be superior to a grain diet that naturally has Gluten.
However, let me be blunt with you, nutrition is not all that black and white and there is a whole chemistry behind that goes to it that what can be considered healthy and what should not.
Gluten is practically everywhere, it’s one of the most common proteins in the grain diet and there is a handful population out there that suffers from the Autoimmune Disorder Coeliac Disease.
It is a condition where consumers develop nutrient malabsorption along with mild to severe damage in the small intestine. In an estimate, about 1 in 100 people in the UK develop this condition, Seriously.
Some of the common symptoms of this disease are vomiting, fatigue, bloating and cramps. The best way to avoid these conditions is to adopt a Gluten-Free diet.
In some cases, individuals may not have Coeliac but may still develop Gluten insensitivity when consumed. The reaction of Gluten may develop less severe symptoms, varying from bloating, wind, constipation or diarrhea, when gluten is eaten.
If an individual does face Gluten insensitivity, it is wise to rule out Coeliac first and then later precautions on Gluten intake can be advised.
Now, you might be wondering, what is a Gluten-Free diet?
Let me tell you, It is a form of processed food where the Gluten protein is extracted and removed and the final product may have very little to no Gluten protein present.
In some foods, Gluten may not be even present to begin with, these can be Corn, Millet, Arrowroot, Soy, Sorghum and Quinoa. There are numerous benefits of this form of diet. The most noteworthy I’ll share:
Consumers of a Gluten-Free diet experience better digestive health, reducing inflammation and inflammation
Individuals also experience better energy levels throughout the day as there is better uptake of nutrients in the digestive tract.
The change of lifestyle may be overwhelming to most but with time, there is an improved healthier lifestyle that does not have bites of cookies, breads and cakes.
People who consume loads of Gluten are susceptible to the release of Cytokines, these molecules hamper brain functioning and generally result in bad moods, you can say adios to that once you shift to a Gluten-Free diet.
With a Gluten-Free diet, you are improving your health by not consuming junk food, with time, your blood cholesterol including LDL and triglycerides, increases HDL cholesterol in the process.
Low Chances of Cardiac Arrest:
Once you start consuming a Gluten-Free diet, your cholesterol health will improve and with each passing day, you will lower your chances of Cardiac Arrest, provided you take good care of your Cardio health.
The best benefit of all, you will reduce body weight with time, burning those extra inches from your waist and feeling fresh and healthier. You will feel your aging process has taken a break and you’ll feel energetic and young,
While more and more audiences are becoming aware of Gluten and its impact, they are shifting to a Grain-Free diet which is devoid of Gluten along with its source, grains.
Grains are everywhere in our diet, I’ll tell you some of the prominent sources:
|Common Grain Foods|
These grain foods are everywhere on the shelves of every home, mart or supermarket. It’s the go-to food in our everyday meals.
The perks of having grain food are that they are inexpensive in comparison to meat and fruits and are available in abundance, anywhere in the world.
All grains are composed of bran and germ which contains all the good nutrients and vitamins for everyday life. Among the nutrients, Iron is accessible which promotes red blood cell growth.
The tragedy with these grain-enriched diets is that most processed foods contain refined grains which are stripped away from bran and germ and you end up getting little health benefits from these staple foods.
Usually, these processed foods will have lower nutritional value but high glycemic index that can spike blood sugar and hamper consumers well-being.
And let me just add on the experience you will get, it’s not pretty. In contrast, a Gluten-free diet, there is a growing trend that is not only devoid of Gluten but also of grains itself! Some of the sources of Grain-Free diet are:
|Common Grain-Free Foods|
|Coconut Flour||Almond Flour||Chickpea Flour.|
|Seafood||Eggs||Dairy Products; Milk, Cheese and Yogurt|
Some of the prominent benefits of having a Grain-Free diet are:
Help treat Certain Health Conditions:
Individuals who are sensitive to Gluten may benefit from Grain-Free diet, which reduces digestive issues
Grain-Free diet promotes healthy digestion and can reduce inflammation and bloating in the intestines.
Reduce Body Weight:
Consumers of Grain-Free foods will have low consumption of processed foods such as White bread, White Pasta and other sources that have High Glycemic Value and are known to spike blood sugar.
Lower Blood Sugar:
Grain-Free foods generally have low Glycemic Value and do not spike blood sugar levels when consumed.
Grain-Free food are generally low in fats and specifically cholesterol, it promotes good well-being
Improved Mental Health:
Gluten-sourced foods have been linked to higher chances of depression, anxiety and mood disorders, Grain-Free foods keep consumers on the safe side and restore Mental Health with time.
With great benefits, there are challenges with Grain-Free foods as well, these cons have to be considered and weighed before opting for a Grain-Free Lifestyle. Some of these are:
Increase Constipation: Grain foods are rich in fiber and have an easy digestive process. In a Grain-Free diet, sources of fiber may be reduced in alternative diets.
Lacking Vital Nutrients: Removing all grains from your diet plan may not be wise as grain foods are a vital source of Vital Nutrients in daily lives.
Gluten Free vs Grain Free Diet, A Comparison
What I can say is that humans have not evolved to consume grain food in comparison to meat, fish, fruits and vegetables. However, it is a staple diet, being available and can be scaled to feed a larger population without being resource intensive.
In comparison to other diet methods, the Grain-Free lifestyle has a variety of food sources to choose from, from fish, meat, dairy products and fruits, there is a lot to choose from and only Grain sources such as Wheat and Rice are not relied upon.
Meanwhile, a Gluten-Free diet is not neccessarily Grain-Free. A person can follow a gluten-free diet and still doesn’t have to exclude all grains because not all grains contain gluten.
That being said, I believe it is a good idea to consult a dietitian before opting to not have grains from your diet altogether.
There is a fair overlap between Gluten-Free and Grain-Free diets, for example, fish can be Gluten as well as Grain free and the same applies to other meat sources as well as fruits.
Some of the food sources to begin with a Gluten or Grain Free diet can be:
- Fresh Fruits.
- Fresh Vegetables.
- Jarred Legumes
- Starches including rice, corn, quinoa, rice bran, teff, wild rice, tapioca, buckwheat, nut and bean flours, potato starch, arrowroot, millet, amaranth, mesquite, montina, sago, and sorghum
- Plain/Flavoured Milk
- Fresh meat, fish, poultry, and eggs with no added ingredients
- Some processed meats (ham, bacon, sausage, and lunch meat)
- Most juice, coffee, tea, and soda
Meanwhile, there is a long list of items to choose from, it is not simple to follow a complete Gluten Free or Grain Free diet.
Following aspects you need to keep in mind.
You have to make a Budget as studies show that Gluten-Free diet can be 2.5 times more expensive than its counter-parts.
That is usually because Gluten-Free or Grain-Free products have to pass stricter regulations.
you have to remove grains from your diet altogether, such as Bread, Pasta and Cereals. Hence, you have to be aware of where you are getting while following your plan.
Look out for ingredients whenever buying processed package foods and as much as possible, make your own meals. A Pro-Tip will be to look out for fresh Veggies, which will have the highest nutritional value.
Meal plans can be customized in much variety with Chicken, Steak, Vegetables, Lentils, Eggs, Fish/Tuna and Fruits. A lot of meal will plan circulate on fresh vegetables that can be easily accessible in your local market.
As stated above, all of your diet will roam around grain free food and you have to keep in mind while choosing your meals at a restaurant.
However, there can be risk of cross-contamination as most restaurants have a common cooking oil that is used with other meals/dishes, hence it is advised to cook your own meals at home.
As earlier mentioned, it would be wise to consult a proper dietitian on going with a Grain-Free or Gluten-Free diet. I’ll never stop stressing that you also have to keep in mind to check for warnings on packages.
Many products which may not have gluten can be processed in a facility where there can be gluten products side by side.
At home, keep your kitchen dishes, utensils and other food prep items that are utilized for gluten foods separate from your main utensils.
Before opening, do read ingredient labels to check for any traces of wheat. Furthermore, try replacing oats, buckwheat or quinoa with alternative grain flour in wheat flour for cooking and baking.
A Few Words
What’s the final verdict? Which one should you opt for? Gluten Free vs Grain Free?
It mostly depends upon your condition and requirements. If you are suffering from Coeliac and other digestive issues such as bloating/inflammation then a Gluten-Free diet will suit you.
However, if you don’t have access to Gluten-Free products in your locality or market, you can simply go out of the Grain Food diet altogether to obliterate any chance of consumption of Gluten from food such as Wheat, Oats, Barley and Cereal.
A thorough consultation with your dietitian is the first step. The next step will then be your budgeting and available options on either Gluten-Free or Grain-Free diet. Which Diet Plan are you trying out?
Share with us in the comments below.