Sunday, October 20, 2013

Going Gluten Free

Gluten free products are becoming easier and easier to find, and thanks to recent legislature, guidelines are being set to regulate the requirements for that label. All of this is great for those of us with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities, but is it for everyone? Gluten sensitivity causes inflammation and neurological symptoms, and in people with celiac, gluten actually destroys the lining of the intestines. For these people, a gluten free diet is necessary. So what are the benefits of going gluten free without a diagnosis of celiac or gluten sensitivity? Well, before I answer that let's look at a few issues. According to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, approximately 1% of the U.S. population has celiac disease, and it is believed that even more people with celiac disease are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. In addition, it's believed that as many as 1 in 20 Americans have non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). So, trying a gluten free diet could be beneficial for people who are noticing symptoms of sensitivity such as gastro-intestinal distress, headaches, and joint pain with no other explanation. Otherwise, you run the risk of losing out on the valuable fiber and nutrients that gluten containing foods possess. Don't take my word for it. WebMD outline some facts and concerns about the issue on their site. In people without gluten sensitivities there has been no noted health benefit and some people actually gain weight when they go gluten free. The bottom line is you have to educate yourself and make decisions based on knowledge, not hype. Be smart. Gluten free cookies are still cookies, and overly processed or refined foods are unhealthy regardless of whether or not they contain gluten. If you suspect a problem with wheat or gluten, talk to your doctor. Ask for the appropriate testing, and get to the bottom of the problems you're having. It took me almost 10 years to get my food issues sorted out... just don't give up until you feel better.

See my post about getting proper nutrients on a gluten free diet.

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