The concept of going gluten-free is becoming more and more of a cultural norm. Gluten-free options are now widely available in stores and restaurants. Here are a few commonly asked questions about gluten.
What is gluten exactly?
Gluten is a group of proteins found in various grains like wheat, barley, rye, and oat. It has a glue-like property ideal for making dough elastic and causing baked goods to rise.
Why avoid gluten?
First, you must avoid gluten if you have Celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder triggered by the consumption of gluten that can cause damage of small intestines. Aside from the discomfort, the damage can lead to poor absorption of nutrients, leading to a number of related complications. Statistics show that 1 out 133 Americans have Celiac disease. Some people also have allergies to wheat or other ingredients with gluten.
Although the concept remains controversial, some health experts believe, that one can be sensitive to gluten even if he or she is not diagnosed with Celiac disease or any form of allergy. Some determine this sensitivity through a process of elimination and eventually connecting symptoms like diarrhea, bloating, dermatitis, fatigue, stomach pain, or depression to gluten.
Should I avoid gluten?
If you have Celiac disease, 100%, avoid gluten. Even the tiniest amount of gluten can wreak havoc to someone with this disease. If you suspect that you have gluten sensitivity, it is best to consult your doctor. You may start observing your reaction to certain types food. A health expert may guide you throughout the required change of diet if needed.
Word of Warning
If you decide to go gluten free, make sure that you supplement the nutrients and benefits you get from gluten-rich food like B vitamins, iron, folate, and fiber to name a few.
Also, going gluten-free doesn’t always mean going healthy. Make sure to read your food labels carefully. Some processed food labeled as ‘gluten-free’ actually contains high amounts of sugar and fats to make it more palatable.
Bottom line, it’s more than just following the current trends. Make sure to know your body, how it reacts to certain food, and be aware of the ingredients in the food that you eat. Need a basic guide on how to start eating a clean and balanced diet? Check out our FREE eating plan here.