Why Go Gluten-Free?
You can’t turn on the news or open a magazine without seeing information about going on a gluten-free diet. But what is gluten and why do so many people need to stop eating it?
Gluten is actually a protein that’s found in some grains including wheat, barley, and rye. Most people encounter gluten, though, in products made from wheat and wheat flour. Some individuals are very sensitive to gluten or even allergic to it.
People who are sensitive may experience symptoms such as headaches, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, and other illnesses associated with inflammation. There are some blood tests that measure sensitivity to gluten, but you can have a negative test result and still be sensitive to it.
In that case, the best way to determine if you have gluten sensitivity is to eliminate gluten from your diet for at least two weeks. Then add it back to your diet and pay attention to any symptoms you experience. If adding the gluten to your diet causes you to have symptoms, you probably need to eliminate it.
A true allergy to gluten causes major problems and is known as celiac disease. This illness can cause you to have diarrhea, severe weight loss, anemia, skin rashes, and pain.
People who have celiac will show positive results from blood tests and may also need to have a surgical biopsy to confirm the problem. People who have celiac must avoid any products containing gluten because the allergy is so severe that eating gluten can be fatal.
While celiac disease has been around for a long time, it seems like the idea of gluten intolerance and sensitivity is relatively new. One reason for that is that over time the concentration of gluten in wheat crops as increased by a huge percentage.
Another reason we may see more gluten intolerance is that people are eating more processed foods than ever before – and many of those are wheat based. Finally, because gluten intolerance has been identified as a problem more and more people are able to be diagnosed.
Not everyone needs to go gluten-free, but if you’re allergic or sensitive to gluten you need to eliminate any products that contain it from your diet. The good news is that there are more gluten-free options than ever before.
If you truly do have a sensitivity or allergy you’ll find that when you eliminate gluten you experience more energy, fewer digestive problems, and even effortless weight loss.