For those just starting the keto diet (low carb diet), it can be tough to know which foods are and are not compliant. Not to mention which diet types pair well with or are interchangeable with keto!
People rely on popular diets like Paleo, Atkins, and macro counting for many health reasons, sometimes to lose weight, to avoid weight gain or simply to feel better and have more energy.
Gluten sensitivities or allergies are common health reasons for adopting a gluten-free diet. But when people look to pair a gluten-free lifestyle with keto, they wonder … “is the keto diet gluten-free?”
We explore this frequently asked question in this blog post!
WHAT IS GLUTEN?
Gluten is a buzzword that gets mentioned a lot in magazine articles, on social media, and in conversations with friends.
According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, gluten is an overarching name for the proteins found in wheat, rye, barley, and triticale (which is a cross between wheat and rye).
Gluten helps foods maintain their shape and acts like a “glue” that holds food together (we love a good play on words ;) ). Gluten is found in several foods and beverages … even the ones you wouldn’t typically think twice about, like bread, pasta, cereal, soup, and beer.
THE GLUTEN-FREE DIET
A gluten-free diet eliminates gluten-rich foods that when eaten, trigger a negative reaction of some sort. For those who are allergic to gluten, a gluten-free lifestyle strictly cuts out each and every food that contains gluten.
However, even those without a gluten allergy can have gluten sensitivities and often adopt a gluten-free diet in the hopes of being the best way to improve digestion and skin complexion, to lose weight, and even more benefits.
Many people who go on a gluten-free diet worry about what they’ll eat, and rightfully so!
This type of diet can be restrictive of beloved foods, processed foods and for those used to eating foods with gluten, there is likely a period of adjustment and even a feeling of mourning involved with saying goodbye to them.
But with the incredible flavor found inside Proper Good’s yummy meals, there’s no need to mourn! If you’re interested in eating gluten-free but don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen on meal prep, Proper Good has you covered. And the best news is that you can filter our shop to products that are gluten-free AND keto!
See the screenshot below to see what we mean.
Our products include an array of soups, chilis, and oatmeals made with only the cleanest and most functional ingredients … with zero prep!
With delicious flavors like red pepper, cream of chicken, broccoli cheddar, and chicken mushroom, you won’t miss gluten one bit! ;)
Why Go Gluten-Free?
In recent years, gluten has gotten a bad reputation for being a villain that causes health issues for some people.
And while you may go your whole life without sensitivity to gluten, it is possible to develop gluten intolerance at any point in your life.
If you’re on the fence about trying a gluten-free diet, you may be wondering about the reasons why people take on this lifestyle, often eliminating favorite foods like pizza, pasta, and bread, things often associated with weight gain, as well as processed foods.
Read on to learn about the benefits of a gluten-free diet!
Sometimes the body’s immune system mistakes gluten or similar wheat proteins for a disease-causing agent, like a flu virus or bacteria.
Because of this, the immune system creates an antibody to the protein, which prompts an immune system response that can result in congestion, breathing difficulties, and other foods, specially processed foods.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder and condition. For those with celiac disease, gluten triggers immune system activity that damages the lining of the small intestine.
Over a period of time, this intestine damage prevents the absorption of nutrients from the food that contains gluten.
NON-CELIAC GLUTEN SENSITIVITY
This is a tricky process that isn’t well understood by scientists. But what we do know is that non-celiac gluten sensitivity is thought to cause signs and symptoms associated with celiac disease.
These symptoms can include abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, "foggy brain," a rash, or headache.
Even though there is no damage to the tissues of the small intestine due to gluten, these issues can persist and studies show that the immune system plays a role in non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
Allergies and sensitivities aside, there are other potential benefits to adopting a gluten-free diet, even for those who are able to eat foods and beverages with gluten!
While more concrete research is needed to validate these benefits listed, incorporating a gluten-free lifestyle has been said to lose weight, overall improved health, better gastrointestinal health, and boosted athletic performance.
However, it’s important to note that foods with gluten provide important vitamins and minerals, like iron, calcium, fiber, and folate.
Unnecessarily eliminating gluten altogether may result in lower-than-normal levels of important nutrients, so it’s always wise to consult with your physician before adopting a gluten-free diet.
What Is The Keto Diet?
It’s no secret that here at Proper Good, we love the ketogenic diet. We’ve written about the differences between keto and paleo, whether you can have a cheat day while on keto, how much sugar to consume on keto … and much more on our blog!
But at a base level, the keto diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that is similar to other well-known low-carb diets, like Atkins.
Keto reduces your body’s carb intake and replaces it with healthy fats. When it reduces carbs, your body enters a metabolic state called ketosis, which helps your body become more efficient at burning fat for energy.
Is Keto Gluten-Free?
While both the keto and gluten-free diets have gained popularity in recent years, they are in fact quite a bit older than you may expect.
The ketogenic diet was first discovered in the 1920s by a doctor who found that the diet was an effective treatment for children with epilepsy.
In the 1940s, it was proved that eliminating gluten from the diets of those with celiac disease also eliminated symptoms associated with the disease.
In short, gluten free keto diet is not a thing, since the ketogenic diet is not strictly gluten-free. That’s because while keto does drastically reduce carb intake, it doesn’t necessarily call for one to completely eliminate other foods with gluten in them, it doesn't mean it is strictly gluten free.
So what are the pros and cons of the keto diet and a gluten-free diet? We’ve done some detective work to break this down even further!
Keto vs Gluten-Free Diets
Advantages of Keto
Northwestern Medicine nicely summarized the pros and cons of the keto diet. Advantages to doing a ketogenic diet include lose weight, appetite suppression, no restriction of healthy fat foods, and potentially a reduction of seizures in pediatric patients with epilepsy.
For those with intense workout routines, like professional athletes and bodybuilders, keto can be used to trim fat in a short time frame.
Disadvantages of Keto
While keto provides many benefits, there are also some cons to consider.
Due to the strict nature of keto, it can be hard to sustain for many people and isn’t meant to do for a prolonged period of time.
In addition, because some key food groups are reduced or eliminated, it can be challenging to naturally consume all of the daily vitamins, fibers, and minerals your body needs.
It’s also important to note that due to its restrictive nature, keto might not be the best way for those with a history of disordered eating.
ADVANTAGES OF GLUTEN-FREE
For those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities, eliminating gluten and even processed foods can be a source of relief and can help reduce intestinal pain.
When those with gluten allergies eliminate this trigger and processed foods decreases, it can result in fewer headaches, boosted bone health, cleared up skin conditions that correlate with gluten consumption, and reduced bloat!
Elevated energy levels, reduced hair loss, and the reduction of autoimmune troubles can also occur with the elimination of gluten.
DISADVANTAGES OF GLUTEN-FREE DIET
However, there are also a few cons to starting and maintaining a gluten-free diet, especially for those without gluten allergies.
Whole grain foods like bread, pasta, and cereal are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. When you eliminate whole-grain foods, you run the risk of not consuming enough of these important nutrients. Nutrient deficiencies can lead to health issues down the road.
In addition, some packaged gluten-free snacks can actually be higher in fat, sugar, and calories, and therefore can result in weight gain, just like some processed foods.
Some studies have also found that people with high whole grain intake experience a lower risk of heart disease compared to those who consume small amounts of whole grains.
Gluten-free versus keto … keto versus gluten-free … we hope this blog post helped demystify the difference between these two similar, yet very different, diet choices!
At the end of the day, just know that if you’re considering taking on a gluten-free or ketogenic diet, you can always try it and if it’s not for you, pivot in a different direction!