Products that are vegan-friendly, dairy-free and gluten-free have started popping up in supermarkets everywhere. However, if you aren’t allergic to dairy or gluten, is it really a healthy choice to cut those products from your diet?
What are the pros and cons of a gluten-free diet?
Gluten is a protein found in some grains such as wheat, barley, rye, triticale and oats, as well as foods made from these ingredients.
“The true benefits of a gluten-free diet are applicable to those with gluten intolerance or coeliac disease as removing gluten may result in improved nutrient absorption, reduced inflammation, reduced bloating and flatulence, improved energy levels, metabolism and weight regulation for these individuals.”
“The cons of following a gluten-free diet can be costs - as gluten free products can be more expensive.”
“There may also be health risks of following a gluten-free diet including reduced nutrient intake, fibre and wholegrain consumption. Some gluten-free food alternatives fall short nutritionally as they can be lower in key vitamins and minerals such as folate, iron, zinc and magnesium, and higher in calories and saturated fat too. Excluding gluten for non-medical reasons is not recommended unless you replace these with fibre and wholegrain containing grains.”
What are the pros and cons of a dairy-free diet?
"Some dairy foods are high in saturated fats and contain added salt and sugar. Cheese, ice-cream, many yoghurts and other processed dairy foods contain fats, along with salt and sugar, which can have a negative impact on our health if consumed in excess," says Rebecca.
People who remove dairy foods from their diet put themselves at risk of low bone mineral content and developing osteoporosis as they age. A serve of yoghurt or glass of milk also gives your body the calcium, protein and vitamin D that it needs, and not all of these nutrients can be replaced by supplements. In fact, Nutrition Australia reports that avoiding or removing dairy foods from your diet may mean you miss out on your recommended dietary intake of many vitamins and minerals essential for good health, and that a health professional should be consulted before removing it from your diet.
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