Gluten free diet is getting popular day by day. However, there are still many people who do not understand the benefits of gluten free foods or even why certain people must choose to embrace a gluten-free diet. In fact, gluten allergies and celiac disease leave some people no other choice than to avoid gluten. Although more people are facing a diagnosis of this type of allergy every day, the fact remains that over ninety percent of people with a gluten allergy do not even realize that they suffer from it.
When a person suffers from this disease or allergy, their body allows gluten to injure the lining of their small intestines. These intestinal injuries have many effects. Their symptoms range from weight loss to bloating, and they include a myriad of digestive problems like diarrhea, gassiness, and cramping. Because these symptoms are fairly common and often indicate other problems, many people never realize that they have this allergy. They continue to eat gluten, and they continue to have problems. However, a simple blood test can tell a person whether they have this allergy. Once it has been diagnosed, they can start a gluten free diet. This gives the lining time to heal, and thus, most of the associated problems stop.
Why Choose a Gluten Free Diet?
Many people balk at the idea of a gluten free diet. They claim that people have been eating wheat or wheat products for millions of years. The real truth, however, is slightly different. People have been eating certain forms of wheat for thousands or even millions of years. However, they eat more wheat now than they did in the past. On one hand, wheat is beneficial to people because it provides prebiotics. Essentially, prebiotics are good bacteria that feed the colon. However, North Americans rely on wheat for over eighty percent of their prebiotic intake. This staggering statistic makes many people think that wheat is an inevitable and even necessary part of the human diet. On the other hand, wheat is not necessary; in fact, there are plenty of prebiotics in fruits and vegetables.
Once you have acknowledged that these diseases and allergies are indeed real and not a fabrication of a hypochondriac society, you may have to determine whether you need to turn to one. With one visit to the doctor’s office, you can complete the blood test that will tell you whether you have this allergy. If you do not have the time or the insurance to visit the doctor, you may try to diagnose the problem on your own. If you are experiencing any of the gastro-intestinal problems that were described above, you should try an elimination diet.
In this type of diet, you remove foods one by one from your diet. As you remove them, you should closely monitor how you feel. You should try to eliminate categories like diary and gluten. You should make sure that you do these separately so that you do not get confused. If your symptoms are better when you stop eating gluten, you may wish to try a gluten free diet. Recently, doctors have realized that these allergies are genetic. Thus, if you have a relative who suffers from celiac, you should opt to eliminate gluten immediately.
What is a Gluten Free Diet?
In simple terms, a gluten free diet is one that does not include gluten. Gluten is a form of protein that is found in wheat, barley, rye, and malts. Under the name of dextrin, it is also a food additive that is used to flavor, stabilize, or thicken certain foods. Some gluten free recipes will also exclude oats. Doctors are divided as to whether or not to include oats in the gluten category. Some are sure that it contains gluten because their patients react poorly to it. Others feel that oats may cause a reaction in some patients because they can become cross-contaminated by other gluten foods in factories.
However, the phrase gluten-free is still somewhat undefined. It usually refers to foods that contain a relatively harmless amount of gluten. This amount is often considered to be less than 10 mg per day. However, recent regulation in the United States defines gluten-free foods as ones that contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten. Since 2007, only foods that contain less than that amount of gluten may use the phrase gluten-free on their labels. If you are looking for a gluten free food list, you can expect it to be relatively long.
Certainly, many foods contain it, but just as many if not more do not contain it. A list of these foods includes meat, fish, vegetables, herbs, fruits, and cheese. However, certain processed meats do contain gluten as do many cheese spreads. Beans, oils, nuts, and rice also do not contain it. Rice flour, in fact, is used by many people as a tasty substitute for wheat flour. As yeast does not contain gluten, many people try to make rice flour bread.
A gluten free diet can be intimidating at first. However, with some careful substitutions, this diet is not difficult to manage. For instance, people on these diets learn to substitute corn tortillas with flour ones. They learn to eat quinoa or rice instead of wheat based pastas. They avoid canned soups, and they begin to make their own soup at home. The possibilities in a gluten free diet are almost endless. They only require a bit of creativity. There are numerous blogs, recipe books, and gluten free diet weight loss groups that are devoted to helping people reduce the amount of gluten in their diets.
If you or a loved one is currently experiencing any of the symptoms that were discussed above such as stomach pains, diarrhea, or excessive weight loss, you need to take a close look at your diet. Because so many people have celiac disease and simply ignore it, the chances are high that you may have it too. If you have a relative with it, the chances that you have it are even higher. A gluten free diet can help you. It will help your body start to heal, and you will love how you feel normal and healthy again.