Grain-Free Diet Pros And Cons: What You Need To Know

You must have heard of the gluten-free diet. Well, the grain-free diet is similar except that it excludes non-glutinous grains too, such as wheat, barley and rye. You also need not to eat food made out of grains such as pasta, rice cakes, oatmeal and bread. 

Pseudocereals, though are a lot like whole grain foods, are occasionally okay to consume since they are not technically placed in the same category as grains. Examples of the pseudocereals include quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat. A grain-free diet can be confused for a low-carb diet, but there is no such limitation on carbohydrates. If you crave carbs, no problem. Starchy vegetables, fruits and legumes are healthy carbs that can be opted for by people following the diet. 

Grain-free does not mean you need to restrict yourself to certain foods. Instead, it is about making the right food choices. For instance, all fruits are permissible to be eaten while maintaining grain-free food habits. Meat rich in protein, such as fish and seafood, dairy products and poultry are allowed as well. 

Nuts, seeds and products made out of them are healthy value adds to such diets. Food made from non-grain based flours such as flax seeds, chickpea and coconut flour are some of the alternatives people can try. Here are some of the pros of consuming grain-free foods, according to information provided by Healthline. 

Inflammation: Research showed that consuming refined grains and wheat could increase inflammation, and lead to several chronic illnesses. However, the research is not conclusive on unprocessed whole grains foods. 

Autoimmune diseases: You generally cut back on whole grain foods only if you have autoimmune conditions such as celiac disease or gluten intolerance, otherwise whole grains can sometimes help with reducing inflammation. One study spanning six weeks revealed that 73 percent of participants had reduced symptoms of gluten intolerance after consuming grain-free food.  

Weight Loss: Reducing food containing processed grains such pizza, doughnuts, bread and pasta creates a calorie deficit and leads to weight loss organically. Contradictory research showed that eating whole grain in moderation could change metabolism and aid weight loss. 

Blood Sugar: Whole grains are rich in dietary carbs and when large amounts are eaten it can lead to diabetes. White bread and pasta are digested quickly as they lack fiber and increase blood sugar levels as a result. 

Mental Health: Certain diets associate consuming glutinous foods with depression and anxiety.  

Alleviates Pain: Similarly gluten-free food can reduce fibromyalgia and endometriosis. 

There are some downsides that need to be noted too. 

Constipation: Whole grains contain insoluble fiber that adds bulk to the stool, aiding the movement of excreta through the digestive tract and thereby reducing constipation. Consuming some fiber-rich foods not made from grains when they are elimintaed from the diet could be the solution to finding the balance. 

Restricted Nutrition: Unprocessed whole grain foods are full of vitamins and minerals. Examples are iron, vitamin B, magnesium and phosphorus. Nutrient deficiencies could appear if they are cut out of the diet, however, they can be replaced to an extent by pseudocereals that contain some of the same nutrients. Hence, having a balanced meal is more important.  

20 Whole Grains Be sure to get actual whole grain products, and not just ones that say it on the label. Many “whole grain” products are actually just filled with refined grains that won’t do you much good. Getty Images