backup og meta

Is Gluten Bad for Your Gut? Here’s What You Should Know

Expertly reviewed by Chris Icamen · Dietetics and Nutrition

Written by Ira Sagad · Updated Feb 10, 2022

    Is Gluten Bad for Your Gut? Here’s What You Should Know

    What is gluten?

    Gluten is a protein found in many grains, including barley, rye, wheat, oats and triticale. It is common in many foods such as cereal, pizza, and bread. Gluten by itself provides no important nutrients for the body. However, it acts like a glue, keeping food together and giving them shape. Gluten proteins, like glutenin and gliadin, are very elastic, making gluten-containing grains very suited for bread creation and other baked goods. But is gluten bad for your gut?

    This past decade or so, there has been a growing health movement to go gluten-free. There is a lot of confusion over whether gluten causes problems for everyone, or if it only causes health issues for a small group of people with specific conditions. Read on to learn the answer to ‘is gluten bad for your gut.’

    When is gluten bad for you?

    Around 1% of the world population has celiac disease, an autoimmune disease which is triggered by gluten. These individuals develop the following symptoms after eating gluten:

    • Swelling of intestines
    • Irritation of intestines
    • Impairment of intestines

    Other people have gluten sensitivity or gluten intolerance. These people experience problems when eating food with gluten, but do not have celiac disease.

    Those with gluten sensitivity may suffer similar effects to taking gluten as those with celiac disease. They may also experience non-gastrointestinal symptoms such as:

    • Headaches
    • Numbness in the arms and legs
    • Joint pain

    However, those with gluten sensitivity do not suffer the same intestinal damage as those with celiac disease.

    For these individuals, a gluten-free diet is crucial to avoiding inflammation, as well as other symptoms. It is easier to pursue a gluten-free diet nowadays as supermarkets and restaurants now offer gluten-free selections that compete with conventional foods in flavor and quality.

    Is gluten bad for your gut?

    People with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity must avoid gluten in their diet. However, unless you suffer these conditions, there is very little evidence to support claims that gluten has adverse or negative effects on your health.

    So is gluten good or bad for you? It is neither. Gluten is basically a protein found in many foods but in very little quantities. Because of this, it will not provide protein the way an egg or meat would. On the other hand, gluten is low in fat and sugar. Because it is eaten in very small quantities, it does not have much impact on your daily diet.

    Should you avoid gluten altogether in your diet?  

    Having a gluten free diet can be beneficial to people with celiac disease and other conditions that make one sensitive to gluten. There are studies that also find that a gluten-free diet benefits people with autoimmune diseases. However, there is not enough evidence to prove that those who do not have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should avoid gluten.

    It is also important to note that just because a food item is gluten-free does not mean that it is healthy. It is true that gluten-free food products are beneficial to those who need them, but are not any healthier than food items that contain gluten. To maintain a healthy diet it is best to eat more vegetables and fruits, and avoid sugary, fatty and processed foods.

    Key takeaway

    Is gluten bad for your gut? Having a gluten-free diet is a basic necessity for those who suffer celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. However, most other people will not experience adverse health effects due to eating gluten. The best way to maintain a healthy diet is to consume more fruits and vegetables, and to avoid foods that are high in sugar and fat.

    Learn about Other Digestive Health Issues here.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Expertly reviewed by

    Chris Icamen

    Dietetics and Nutrition

    Written by Ira Sagad · Updated Feb 10, 2022

    advertisement iconadvertisement

    Was this article helpful?

    advertisement iconadvertisement
    advertisement iconadvertisement