8 Unaware Side Effects of Gluten-Free Diet

Starting on a gluten-free diet can be challenging. It also has its good and bad outcomes. Living gluten free means keeping away from a protein known as gluten that is found in certain foods including wheat, barley and rye, and food products containing them. For a person suffering from gluten intolerance or celiac disease, keeping gluten from your diet can lead to significant health improvements. However, it can also lead to deficiencies. So, what are the possible gluten free side effects that may arise?

Side Effects of Gluten-Free Diet

1. There Is Mild to Severe Reaction to Gluten Cross-Contamination

Once you go gluten-free, you may find that your body will react violently to occasional exposure to gluten. A case in point is when at a birthday party you crave for a piece of cake. So you take a tiny bite thinking: not a big deal! But this is where you may be wrong. After embarking on a gluten-free diet, you may be surprised to note that even a small piece of cake can lead to mild or even extreme reactions to gluten cross-contamination.

The reaction can occur as constipation, diarrhea, gas, and vomiting. Additionally, you might experience joint pains, mental fog, fatigue and depression. Besides, the reaction may take effect within minutes, or it may take as long as a day or longer.

How to deal with it? Be conscious of everything you eat and watch out for possible gluten contamination. Choose to cook your own food, taking into account all food items that you purchase.

2. You May Need to Get Another Source of Fiber to Compensate

Your body may lack the much-needed amount of fiber in your diet, and this is one of the major gluten free side effects. Many whole grains that provide high fiber contain gluten. By contrast, gluten-free bread and cake contain little amounts of fiber which may not be enough to meet your needs.

To remedy the situation, you can find other sources of fiber such as nuts and gluten-free grains. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables as well. But be careful not to overcompensate for the high fiber diet as this may upset your stomach and lead to bloating.

3. You Risk Missing Out on Essential Nutrients

Most baked goods such as bread are usually fortified with vitamins and minerals. On the other hand, most baked products that are gluten free often do not come fortified with extra vitamins and minerals. For this reason, going on a gluten-free diet may lead you to lose on B-vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folic acid), and iron.

To remedy this situation, ensure that you take plenty of fruits and green vegetables. You can also consider supplements to help you get the recommended daily dosage.

4. You Might Eat Too Much Fat and Sugar

Adding too much fat and sugar to your food are the other gluten free side effects. To make gluten-free foods interesting, more fats and sugar are usually added. This can cause you to consume higher amounts of calories than needed. Gluten-free products also contain more additives and take a lot longer to process.

5. You May Fail to Keep up with Your Calorie Count

Going gluten-free does not mean a life free of calories. You could be overtaken by the gluten-free lifestyle and forget about the calories. Always practice portion control when eating. Eat healthy meals, drink plenty of water and remember that fruits and vegetables are great for you.

6. It Can Reduce Diversity of Your Microbiome

Your gut contains trillions of both good and harmful bacteria, fungi and viruses. Diversity of foods is more supportive of this necessary microbiotic environment.  However, the restrictive gluten-free diet reduces this diversity which can reduce protection to some diseases.

7. You May End Up Consuming More Arsenic

Rice, which is a gluten-free grain, is typically substituted for wheat by gluten-free product manufacturers. Unfortunately, rice is a major source of inorganic arsenic, a mineral found in soil, water and fertilizer. Inorganic arsenic is associated with various health problems including cancers of the lung, skin and bladder, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

8. Be Prepared to Dig Deeper into Your Pockets

Gluten-free products usually have a higher price tag and may cost up to three times more than wheat-based products. Having to dig deeper into your pockets is yet another of the gluten free side effects. The higher price is necessitated by the special grains needed which are usually uncommon and the manufacturing procedures involved. This is different from the more abundant wheat, barley and rye.

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