What You Should Know Before Going Grain-Free

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People often opt for grain-free diets because they hope to enhance overall health by decreasing gastrointestinal discomfort, bloating, and weight. Dr. William Davis, a cardiologist, and best-selling author, also suggests that eliminating grains could reduce anxiety and improve mood. However, other medical experts state that the removal of grains could lead to nutritional deficiencies and loss of valuable fiber intake. Before going on a grain-free diet, there are some things you should know.

The Difference Between Grain-Free and Gluten-Free

Going on a grain-free diet consists of eliminating all grain products and is not the same as going gluten-free. Gluten is a collective term for proteins that are found in grains, such as rye, wheat, and barley. A gluten-free diet allows for the consumption of grains that lack these proteins. A grain-free lifestyle means the elimination of many common foods, including pasta, cereal, and baked goods that are made with any type of grain. It also involves cutting out corn and rice, both of which contain no gluten at all.

No Grains Could Equal Less Salt and Sugar

Because foods made from grains often include large amounts of salt and sugar, eliminating them could lead to less consumption of these unhealthy substances. According to the Food and Drug Administration, a high sugar intake contributes to weight gain, cavities, and depression. Excess salt can be responsible for heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, heart failure, and stroke.

Cutting Grains Can Make Room for Healthier Foods

When eliminating grains, you could actually get more nutrients from foods that you normally lack, provided you make healthy choices and substitute a variety of produce. The Imperial College in London established that 10 servings of fruits and vegetables daily led to reductions in stroke, cancer, heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and premature death. Since the absence of grain foods leaves room in your menu and stomach, you could see nutritional benefits when eating more produce.

Snacking Habits

If you tend to snack on cookies, pasta, bread, or other foods made with processed grains, going grain-free cuts out these high-calorie culprits. This could lead to weight loss, a pleasant side effect. On the other hand, it can become difficult to find satisfying substitutions, and you might only lose weight if you eliminate snacking altogether or use healthier foods instead.

Consult Experts

You’re likely to hear many different failures and success stories from friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family members. Just because someone had a bad experience or great results doesn’t mean you’ll experience the same. Everyone’s body reacts to diet changes differently. Since nutritional needs also differ from person to person and existing health conditions might require special food considerations, consult a registered dietician-nutritionist to see if a grain-free diet will benefit your situation.

Since a grain-free diet comes with pros and cons, evaluate your individual needs and decide on the best course of action with the help of an expert. However, still, consult your regular healthcare professional before making any abrupt changes to your diet.

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