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Do you need to avoid gluten?

Many people are confused as to whether gluten is actually bad for them and whether they should be cutting it out of their diets.

Gluten is a family of proteins which is found naturally in wheat flour and grains such as rye, barley, spelt, kamut, semolina and pastas and is also found in processed foods such as cereals, sauces, ready meals, alcohols and biscuits. It acts like a glue, holding food together and helping it to maintain it’s shape.

In today’s society we consume a lot of gluten on a daily basis – cereals or toast for breakfast, sandwiches/paninis/wraps for lunch and pasta or meals with sauces for dinner. It is this daily overconsumption of these products which causes gluten to irritate the gut and can lead to sensitivities and gut problems such as leaky gut, coeliac disease and even auto-immune conditions.

Many people can tolerate gluten without any issues and it’s best to have these products in moderation rather than every day. It wouldn’t do any harm to cut gluten out from your diet for a few weeks and see if you notice a difference in how you feel – there aren’t any nutrients in gluten that you can’t get from other foods.

If you are cutting gluten out, aim for whole, unprocessed foods rather than the processed gluten-free products – just because something is labelled as gluten-free doesn’t make it healthy. There are many alternatives that you can try such as buckwheat flour, quinoa, rice or millet pasta.