If you have celiac disease, then you definitely need to be on a gluten free diet. Celiac disease is negatively affected by the consumption of gluten, because gluten attacks the villi within the small intestine, which is designed to be there in order to help your body absorb vital nutrients. Without the villi working properly, a person can become malnourished and very ill.
Other people who should consider a gluten free diet are those who have an allergy to it. Symptoms from abdominal pain to difficulty in breathing can be exacerbated by gluten. So, it’s best to remove it from the diet, just as someone suffering from celiac disease. Other reasons might be for weight loss or living a healthier and natural lifestyle.
A Little Information on Gluten
Gluten is found in grains such as wheat, rye, barley, and oats, which can be either easy to detect…or hidden. So, knowing exactly where it is might take a little detective work on your part.
Make sure to read labels on food products to look for trigger words such as the grains listed above, as well as positive claims similar to “made in a gluten free facility”. What this means for you is that there won’t be a chance of cross contamination to other products that contain gluten.
But, it’s not just food that you need to watch out for, as it can also be found in lipstick, vitamins, medications, and even toothpaste.
As mentioned above, choosing to live a gluten free lifestyle might not be a “must” for some, but rather an option. But, is it a good option for you? Let’s focus on the various other reasons why a person might consider a gluten free diet to see if it is. I suggest though, that you consult a physician any time you want to make a big change in your diet.
Change in Lifestyle
It’s possible that you might be considering a gluten free diet because it’s all the rage right now, with popular stores and restaurants featuring gluten free items. There is nothing wrong with that, as long as you do it right, rather than just to fit in with the crowd.
Unfortunately, many gluten free products can host a significant amount of calories, which can lead to weight gain, rather than loss. So, unless you want to gain weight, make sure to read labels carefully and watch for caloric intake as well.
Also, by removing gluten from your diet, you also are likely removing important nutrients from your diet. It’s best to supplement it with a multivitamin…but, make sure it’s gluten free.
Another trapping of gluten free products is the cost. If it’s not going to benefit you in your health, it could just be a waste of money.
Gluten Free Diet for Weight Loss
You don’t have to look far to find a celebrity who has dabbled in gluten free diets. It’s quite a fad for them, as it’s believed to be a great way to shed some weight. However, while it might be a healthy diet, it’s not necessarily easy…or even a sure bet.
If you like convenience, you won’t like this diet. Many foods of convenience are ladled with gluten, such as pizza, bagels, cereals, and any processed food such as the shredded cheese that we often put on top of our salads. If it’s not fresh, or it’s a starch, the chances are high there is gluten, unless otherwise noted.
However, there are alternative solutions for many of these products, including the following:
- Brown rice
- Gluten free flour
- Gluten free pasta
In particular, gluten…or carb free noodles, such as Miracle Noodles are also free of calories. So, you can enjoy healthy and gluten free pasta dishes in the midst of your weight loss plan. Just be careful, because a common mistake is to eat more of something when it’s considered to be healthy. That doesn’t necessarily help in shedding pounds. So make sure you still count calories the old fashioned way…and cut down on fats and sugars as well.
Sensitivity to Gluten
Gluten sensitivity is a good enough reason to avoid gluten. However, it’s not exactly easy to diagnose. It’s done through the tedious process of elimination, which can be frustrating and time consuming…but, worth if it you do have an actual sensitivity.
The symptoms are similar to celiac disease, such as abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea interlaced with constipation, fatigue, and more. In fact, these symptoms are also similar to other gastrointestinal disorders. So, you can see how it might be tricky to get an accurate diagnosis.
If removing gluten from your diet improves your symptoms, then you are better off keeping it out of your diet. Just keep in mind that it could hinder diagnosis of other diseases such as celiac, Crohns, or even an obstruction. I recommend that you go through this diagnosis with a physician’s approval so you can get an accurate diagnosis.
I hope I provided enough information for you to know if a gluten free diet is an option to consider for your individual health. Don’t rely on the situations that other people go through to diagnose or prescribe a certain diet like removing all gluten.
As a freelance writer, Kathy Barber often draws from her own life experiences, or information she gathers on various websites during her research. In fact, while researching healthy weight loss on sites such as www.biogirlhealth.com, she chose to tackle a series on gluten free living. When she is not working, she enjoys photography, music, sports, entertaining, and spending time with her family. Kathy is married with a young son, and lives in Michigan.