A new study shows that gluten-free diets can reduce bloating and help weight loss, but it’s not necessarily advised to opt for gluten-free products. Here’s why.
While keeping a strict gluten-free diet is a lifelong necessity for allergic people, these days, a lot of people are choosing a low-gluten diet, even though they are not allergic to the dietary substance. This trend has sparked public debate about whether or not low-gluten diets are recommendable for people without allergies. Researchers from University of Copenhagen among others have looked into just that. The findings have been reported in the journal Nature Communications.
In an intervention study of healthy Danish adults, an international team of scientists shows that a low-gluten but fibre-rich diet changes the community of gut bacteria and decreases gastrointestinal discomfort such as bloating and is linked to a modest weight loss. The changes in intestinal comfort and body weight relate to changes in gut bacteria composition and function.
“We demonstrate that, in comparison with a high-gluten diet, a low-gluten, fibre-rich diet induces changes in the structure and function of the complex intestinal ecosystem of bacteria, reduces hydrogen exhalation, and leads to improvements in self-reported bloating. Moreover, we observed a modest weight loss, likely due to increased body combustion triggered by the altered gut bacterial functions,” explained the leading principal investigator of the trial, Professor Oluf Pedersen.
Change in dietary fibre composition seems to be the cause
The researchers undertook a randomised, controlled, cross-over trial involving 60 middle-aged healthy Danish adults with two eight week interventions comparing a low-gluten diet (2 g gluten per day) and a high-gluten diet (18 g gluten per day), separated by a washout period of at least six weeks with habitual diet (12 g gluten per day).
The two diets were balanced in number of calories and nutrients including the same amount of dietary fibres. However, the composition of fibres differed markedly between the two diets.
Based on their observations of altered food fermentation patterns of the gut bacteria, the researchers conclude that the effects of low-gluten dieting in healthy people may not be primarily due to reduced intake of gluten itself but rather to a change in dietary fibre composition by reducing fibres from wheat and rye and replacing them with fibres from vegetables, brown rice, corn, oat and quinoa.
No basis for change of diet recommendation yet
A low-gluten diet has previously been proposed to diminish gastrointestinal symptoms in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases and irritable bowel syndrome, disorders which occur in up to 20% of the general Western population. The present study suggests that even some healthy individuals may prefer a low-gluten diet to combat intestinal discomfort or excess body weight.
“More long-term studies are definitely needed before any public health advice can be given to the general population. Especially, because we find dietary fibres — not the absence of gluten alone — to be the primary cause of the changes in intestinal discomfort and body weight. By now we think that our study is a wake-up call to the food industry. Gluten-free may not necessarily be the healthy choice many people think it is,” said Pedersen.
“Most gluten-free food items available on the market today are massively deprived of dietary fibres and natural nutritional ingredients. Therefore, there is an obvious need for availability of fibre-enriched, nutritionally high-quality gluten-free food items which are fresh or minimally processed to consumers who prefer a low-gluten diet. Such initiatives may turn out to be key for alleviating gastro-intestinal discomfort and in addition to help facilitating weight control in the general population via modification of the gut microbiota”, he concluded.
Top 6 Home Remedies That Can Help Speed Up Your Digestion
Do you feel uneasy after eating your meals? The reason might be indigestion. Digestive issues might be common, but they are not normal. We generally avoid talking about digestive disorders and we hardly seek any help for problems related to digestive health. But one should not ignore them. The most common problems which are associated with the digestive tract are diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), belly cramps, gas, nausea and heartburn. The main causes of digestive disorders are unhealthy eating habits, no physical activity, poor nutrition, food allergy, medication or even an infection. However, certain home remedies can help improve your digestion naturally.
6 Natural ways to improve your digestion:
1. Chew you food properly:
The most important part of good digestion is chewing your food. When you chew your food well, it eases the work for your digestive system, so your body can focus on other functions. Take time eat your food. Chew your food properly and slowly. Do not be in a hurry to finish the meal as it can lead to indigestion.
2. Fiber rich diet:
Fiber plays an important role in digestion. It is important to consume both types of fiber, soluble fiber and insoluble fiber since they both help your digestive system in different ways. Good sources of fiber include fruits, vegetables, wheat bran whole grains, oat bran, nuts, seeds and legumes. Avoid eating processed or junk food.
3. Stay hydrated:
Drinking plenty of water is good for your digestive health. Keep yourself hydrated all day long by sipper water and other fluids like fresh fruit juices, lime water or coconut water.
4. Keep moving:
Your body is designed to move. Physical exercise is very important for the overall health of the body. You can either go for walks, running, swimming, yoga or even cyclic. Physical activity on regular basis helps in moving food through your digestive system, thereby reducing the chances of digestive issues.
5. Healthy fats:
Fat keeps food moving smoothly through your digestive system. Include healthy fats in your diets like cheese, olive oil, whole eggs, nuts, avocado and fatty fish. As an added benefit, omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation, which may further prevent inflammatory bowel diseases. Hence, include salmon, tuna, chia seeds, flax seeds and pumpkin seeds in your diet.
6. Avoid stress:
In general, stress can have a negative impact on your health. Stress has been associated with several digestive disorders like stomach ulcers, diarrhea, constipation and IBS. Though stress is normal but avoid taking stress with certain breathing exercises, meditation or even yoga.
Is your headache a sign of a ‘life-threatening’ stroke?
High blood pressure is a common condition that affects more than 25 percent of all adults in the UK.
The condition, which is also known as hypertension, puts extra stress on blood vessels and vital organs, express.co.uk wrote.
High blood pressure is often known as ‘the silent killer’ as it’s not always possible to know if you’re at risk.
But you could be at risk of a deadly hypertensive crisis if your severe headache is accompanied by blurred vision, it’s been revealed.
A hypertensive crisis is a fast rise in blood pressure that can lead to a stroke, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Anything over 180/120mmHg can immediately damage blood vessels, and they may begin to leak blood.
It could also causes damage to your vital organs, and it may be life-threatening, it said.
If you have high blood pressure, and you suddenly develop a severe headache, confusion and blurred vision, you should seek immediate medical attention.
“In an emergency hypertensive crisis, your blood pressure is extremely high and has caused damage to your organs,” said the Mayo Clinic.
“An emergency hypertensive crisis can be associated with life-threatening complications.
“Signs and symptoms of a hypertensive crisis that may be life-threatening may include severe headache, accompanied by confusion and blurred vision.
“If you experience a severe increase in your blood pressure, seek immediate medical attention.
“Treatment for hypertensive crisis may include hospitalization for treatment with oral or intravenous medications.”
You could also be at risk of a hypertensive crisis if you have severe chest pain, or severe anxiety.
Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, having seizures, or being unresponsive.
Having high blood pressure increases the risk of some deadly complications, including strokes and heart attacks.
But the only way of knowing if you have hypertension is to have your blood pressure checked.
Symptoms only develop if you have extremely high blood pressure, said Bupa UK.
Speak to a doctor or pharmacist to have your blood pressure checked.
All adults over 40 years old should check their blood pressure at least every five years.
Dates, apricots better than starchy foods in lowering diabetes
Eating dried fruits such as dates, apricots, raisins and sultanas may not spike blood sugar compared to starchy foods such as white bread, suggests a study.
“People often worry about sources of sugar, and fruits are one of them. But most fruits, in particular tender fruit, have a low glycemic index and what we’re showing here is dried fruits also have a lower glycemic index, so they don’t raise your blood sugar very much,” said John Sievenpiper from Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital.
“This study finds that people can use dried fruits as a low glycemic index food source to replace higher glycemic index foods. So, as a snack food, dried fruit is going to be preferred to a grain-based cracker or snack,” he added.
The study, published in the journal Nutrition and Diabetes, compared the glycemic response of four dried fruits — dates, apricots, raisins and sultanas — to white bread in a small group of healthy participants.
They found that the fruit had a lower glycemic index and could lower the glycemic response of white bread through displacement of half of the available carbohydrate.
The glycemic index is a way of explaining how different carbohydrates affect blood glucose and can help find out which foods are best for people with diabetes.
Foods high on the glycemic index — such as white bread, most breakfast cereals, potatoes and rice — produce a spike in blood glucose and insulin.
On the other hand, the carbohydrates in low glycemic index foods — including pasta, beans, lentils and certain whole grains such as barley and oats — are broken down more slowly, and cause more moderate increases in blood glucose and insulin.
The study also suggested that there’s potential for food manufacturers to develop low glycemic index foods with reformulations that include dried fruits.
However, longer and larger randomised trials will be needed to confirm whether dried fruits can contribute to sustainable improvements in glycemic control, and whether other dried fruits have a similar glycemic index, Sievenpiper stated.