You may be one of those people trying to discover a new diet that may help with certain conditions and you suddenly stumble upon grain-free diet. Grain free diet is a diet that does not include corn, wheat, rice, oats, rye, barley and other grains. Grain-free diet is otherwise known as gluten-free diet because you are trying to remove gluten, which is a major composition of most grains. Grain-free diet is not new because earlier humans do not seem to eat grains when agriculture and cultivation of wheat and rice were still not known. A grain-free diet only includes the consumption of fruits, vegetables and meat and no to grains and food items containing grains such as pastas, bread, pastries and others.
While we may want to reduce grains, it is first important to know the advantages and disadvantages of a grain-free diet so we may decide if a grain-free diet is suitable for our own needs.
Pros of Grain-free Diet
Grain-free diet produces the following benefits for people:
• Weight loss
Grain-free diet usually helps you maintain a desirable body weight because you mostly get starches and carbohydrates from grains. Not including whole wheat and whole grains (which are low-glycemic foods essential for weight loss), most foods containing grains provide you with simple carbohydrates that can be converted to glucose and stored as fat easily. So if you opt for a grain-freed diet, you reduce your total carbohydrates and calorie consumption.
• Reduced allergies
Wheat is one of the most common food allergens that may lead to serious anaphylactic reactions or gastrointestinal disturbances to those allergic to it. In this line, avoiding grains and foods containing grains may help reduce the tendency to develop wheat allergy and gluten allergies and sensitivities. Furthermore, most people don’t know that they are sensitive to grains and may attribute a diarrhea to other food items. So eating a grain-free diet usually leads to lesser visits to the toilet.
• More varied food intake
Since you will not consume grains and grain-containing foods, you are left with eating varied food items such as vegetables, fruits, meats, seeds and nuts. Most people usually take as much carbohydrates from rice, pastas and other grain-containing food items, which makes them deficient in their consumption of proteins, fruits and vegetables.
Cons of Grain-free Diet
Grain-free diet is not without any disadvantages. In fact, the downside of eating a grain-free diet is commonly related to nutritional deficiency.
• Folate and iron deficiency
Grains are very rich in iron and folate and if you consume grain-free diet strictly, you may not get the daily allowances of iron and folate in your body contributing to possible anemia.
• Fiber deficiency
Grains are also one of the food items that containing the highest amount of dietary fiber so you may not get adequate fiber in your grain-free diet, unless, you consume a lot of fruits and vegetables.
• Increased cholesterol levels
A grain-free diet with minimal intake of fruits and vegetables may also lead to high cholesterol levels according to experts because fiber in grains helps eliminate the bad cholesterol from the body through the gut.
From all the pros and cons of a grain-free diet, it is important to consider your own health condition prior to consuming this type of diet. If you have celiac disease or you are wheat and gluten intolerant, consuming a grain-free diet may be beneficial. Normal individuals may also employ this type of diet, but make sure to get essential food components such as folate, iron and fiber from other sources.