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Categories: Grain-free

What is a Grain-free diet?

A grain-free diet eliminates all grains, as well as foods derived from them.

This includes gluten-containing grains like wheat, spelt, barley, rye, and triticale, as well as non-glutenous ones like dried corn, millet, rice, sorghum, and oats.

Moreover, unlike fresh corn, which is considered a starchy vegetable, dried corn is viewed as a grain. Therefore, foods made from corn flour are also avoided.

Plus, some people may choose to exclude ingredients derived from grains, such as rice syrup or high-fructose corn syrup. However, this is not a strict requirement of such a diet.

How to follow a Grain-free diet?

To follow a grain-free diet, you need to exclude all grains, as well as grain-derived foods, from your diet. This includes bread, pasta, muesli, oatmeal, breakfast cereals, pastries, and cookies.

That said, most grain-free diets permit small amounts of pseudocereals, such as quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat. Pseudocereals can be prepared and eaten similarly to grains, but they are not technically considered grains.

A grain-free diet can be naturally low in carbs, but this isn’t a requirement. Those who wish to include more carbs can get them from fruits, legumes, and starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, squash, and fresh corn.

There are no restrictions regarding non-grain-based foods.

Therefore, you may include as much meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, sugar, fats, or dairy as you wish — though proponents of grain-free diets tend to discourage eating overly processed foods.

Benefits of a Grain-free diet

A grain-free diet may offer several health benefits:

  • helps treat certain health conditions like celiac disease
  • helps relieve gluten intolerance symptoms like stomach pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, eczema, headaches, or fatigue when eating grains
  • helps people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • may reduce inflammation
  • may enhance weight loss
  • may lower blood sugar levels 

Other potential benefits

A grain-free diet may also offer other health benefits:

  • may improve mental health.
  • may help alleviate pain
  • may reduce symptoms of fibromyalgia 

DISCLAIMER: Despite promising preliminary results, more studies are needed to confirm these effects. It’s also worth noting that most of these studies only looked at the effect of gluten-containing grains. There’s no evidence to suggest that it’s necessary to exclude all grains from your diet to attain these benefits.

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