A low-gluten, high-fiber diet would be potentially protective against gastrointestinal upset, even in healthy individuals.
Although both gluten and fiber are misunderstood substances at the present time, they still have enormous potential to take into account. For example, not a few believe that "gluten-free" diets are healthier, or that you have to eat a lot of fiber to eliminate constipation.
And no, neither belief is true.
However, a low-gluten, high-fiber diet, taken together, may be able to improve some nonspecific gastrointestinal complaints, such as bloating or heavy digestions, and may even contribute to moderate weight loss, according to new published work. in the journal Nature Communications by Danish researchers.
Low-gluten, high-fiber diet: key against stomach bloating
According to the researchers responsible for the new study, both the improvement of intestinal discomfort and changes in weight and body composition would be directly related to intestinal bacteria or intestinal microbiome.
For their part, it has been seen that diets low in gluten or directly gluten-free, even if they do not suffer from intolerance (celiac disease) or sensitivity to gluten, could improve some gastrointestinal symptoms, so the Danish researchers decided to investigate this. Likewise, enriching the diet with fiber would also provide benefits in this regard, and all this would have to do with improving the intestinal microbiome.
In short, a diet low in gluten and rich in fiber would have the potential against gastrointestinal discomfort, without forgetting the aforementioned accompanying weight loss, which would occur as a collateral to the change in said intestinal bacteria.
To reach such a conclusion, the researchers conducted a randomized, controlled, crossover clinical trial with up to 60 middle-aged Danish individuals who received up to two types of eight-week diet: on the one hand, they carried out a low-gluten diet (2 g of gluten per day), and on the other hand, a diet high in gluten (18 g of gluten per day). Both interventions were separated from each other up to six weeks apart following a regular diet (12 g of gluten on average per day) in order not to alter the possible results. This is what is called "washout period" when dietary interventions are studied in the same individual.
Both types of diet were balanced in number of calories and nutrients, and even with the same amount of dietary fiber. But the fiber composition was different depending on the diet.
As a result, the researchers suggested that a low-gluten, high-fiber diet in healthy people would improve fermentation patterns, leading to improvements in stomach and intestinal discomfort. However, not just any type of fiber will do: the fibers of wheat, rye should be reduced and, in return, the fibers from vegetables, brown rice, corn, oats and quinoa should be increased. In fact, the diet low in gluten compared to the diet high in gluten would entail an enrichment with the latter type of fiber.
Not low in gluten is healthy, nor more fiber improves constipation
It should be noted that the use of low gluten diets is currently being proposed to improve symptoms in inflammatory bowel diseases and irritable color syndrome, disorders that affect up to 20% of individuals worldwide. This study would suggest that even healthy people would benefit from reducing gluten, without being intolerant to it, but the same researchers call for calm and propose to carry out longer-term studies, since we are talking about only 8 weeks of study. Likewise, the composition of the fibers would also be a factor to take into account, and not just the amount of gluten itself.
In fact, the same researchers point out that most of the "gluten-free" foods available in the supermarket are usually low in dietary fiber and excessively processed, something that would not help to confirm the potential benefits of a low or gluten-free diet in such case.
On the other hand, we cannot forget the anti-gluten fever that exists today: no more than 1% of the population suffers from celiac disease or gluten intolerance, and this data has not changed in decades (there are no more celiacs in the world, although many individuals think otherwise). And, in turn, up to 12% of the population refers to discomfort when consuming gluten. They are known as " gluten sensitive ", although there are studies that affirm that this term does not exist, and that it is only a trick of the brain.
Even so, a more recent study wanted to study this sensitivity further, concluding that there would be another potentially harmful substance, fructans, that would be found in many gluten-free foods and could be confused with the discomfort caused by this protein. Still, it is necessary to continue researching in this regard, since gluten-free diets are not healthier in general unless you suffer from celiac disease.
Finally, regarding fiber and its supposed anti-constipation potential, we already talked at the time in Cocinillas about the mistake made in this regard: fiber can improve constipation in a very modest way and in specific cases, and it is known that an excess of fiber could even make constipation worse.