With a massive wave of people deciding to move away from gluten and hop on a gluten-free diet as of late, it may have you wondering if this is a good idea. There are many reasons why people decide to go gluten-free: Celiac disease, a realization of gluten sensitivity, and some refrain from gluten products in an effort to lose weight. However, to decide whether or not you want to jump on the gluten-free bandwagon; you need to understand what gluten is, and the main reasons why some are shying away from it.
What is gluten? It’s a protein commonly found in wheat, barley, rye, and other grains. It provides the elasticity in breads, and other baked goodies. Gluten can also be found in some condiments (i.e. mustard, salad dressings, and soy sauce), chocolate, and some oat products (due to cross-contamination). Yahoo Shine Canada reports that those opting to eliminate this protein from their diets is a good thing for some – going gluten-free is not for everyone. Here’s what you need to consider:
Celiac Disease: Gluten naturally causes the immune system of Celiac disease sufferers to react via their bowels. Even just a little bit of gluten can cause a lot of damage: decreasing the body’s absorption of important vitamins and minerals like vitamin D, calcium, folic acid, and iron. The end result of this reduction in these nutrients can cause malnutrition in one’s body, and leave an individual susceptible to anything from osteoporosis to infertility. Generally those who suffer from celiac disease, which can really happen at any age, experience the following initial symptoms: bloating, diarrhea, and stomach pains. If you think you may have celiac disease, visit your doctor and get tested so you can know for sure. Your family physician can also help you transition into your gluten-free diet (if needed), provide advice, and answer all your questions.
Gluten-sensitivity: Some people go gluten-free, because they simply have sensitivity to it, which may cause their body to react in different ways. While there is no test to help determine if you are sensitive to gluten, the best way to find out is to keep a food journal, and monitor any symptoms you may have, closely.
Weight-loss: Unfortunately many people are under the impression that they can lose weight if they decide to go gluten-free; when at times, this ends up creating an opposite effect. Some will try to substitute the loss of gluten, by reaching for more sugary, starchy and fatty foods, which can be higher in calories. Most experts agree that unless your doctor advises you to go gluten-free for medical reasons, it is best to refrain from this type of diet if you are looking to lose weight.