Nowadays, information about healthy eating is spreading at the speed of light. However, amidst the plethora of advice and recommendations, unfortunately, myths sometimes slip through. Let’s take a look at what the latest scientific studies say about foods like gluten intolerance and lactose, as well as others that often fall under public condemnation.
Gluten: enemy or friend?
Myth: Gluten is bad for everyone without exception.
Fact: Gluten is a protein found in certain grains such as wheat, barley, and rye. For most people, gluten is completely safe. However, some people have gluten intolerance or celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder in which gluten causes inflammation of the small intestine. If you are not diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, avoiding this protein may not be warranted.
Lactose: a common problem or an individual reaction?
Myth: Most adults suffer from lactose intolerance.
Fact: Lactose intolerance is manifested by the body’s inability to fully digest the milk sugar, lactose. While the disorder is indeed common in some ethnic groups, not all people suffer from its symptoms. If you don’t notice discomfort after consuming dairy products, you probably don’t have this problem.
Carbohydrates: total harm or essential food?
Myth: All carbohydrates are bad for your health.
Fact: Carbohydrates are our body’s main source of energy. The problem is not the carbohydrates per se, but the type and amount of carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates found in vegetables, fruits, and whole grain products are beneficial to health, while simple sugars and added sugars can increase the risk of various diseases.
In conclusion, it is important to remember that everybody is unique. Before making changes to your diet, it is advisable to consult a specialist. Scientific research is constantly evolving, and what was considered axiomatic yesterday may be disproven today. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and learn new things about your health and nutrition.
Links to research articles
- Gluten: Ludvigsson JF, Leffler DA, Bai JC, et al. The Oslo definitions for coeliac disease and related terms. Gut. 2013;62(1):43-52.
- Lactose: Swagerty DL Jr, Walling AD, Klein RM. Lactose intolerance. Am Fam Physician. 2002;65(9):1845-50.