Is Gluten-Free For You?
Gluten has recently received a lot of attention and for many people a gluten-free diet has become a lifestyle. But is going gluten-free right for you or is it just another fad diet? So lets start with what is gluten? Gluten is the genetic name for certain types of proteins contained in common cereal grains, wheat, barley, and rye.1
Before you decide to embark in this restrictive diet you must determine if you would truly benefit from such a diet. People may benefit from a gluten-free diet if they have a gluten allergy or intolerance (example celiac disease). A food allergy, or hypersensitivity, is an abnormal response to food that is triggered by the immune system. 1 A reaction may occur within minutes or hours of consuming the specific food. Intolerances are often metabolic malfunction, but may have many other causes. 1 If a reaction occurs the effects are experienced as symptoms, for example bloating. Celiac disease is a permanent gluten intolerance that is lifelong, genetic, and an autoimmune disease for which the trigger is gluten. 1 Individuals with celiac disease can experience a variety of symptoms such as: bloating, abdominal cramping, diarrhea and abnormal weight loss. The symptoms experienced by these individuals are not relieved until gluten is eliminated from their diet. There are several tests that can be administered by a physician to determine if someone has a gluten allergy or intolerance.
Please remember that a gluten-free diet should be a nutritional therapeutic diet, not a fad diet. If you decided to adhere to a gluten-free diet seek nutritional advise from a Registered Dietitian to insure you are consuming an adequate diet for optimal health.
- Whole-wheat flour
- White flour
- Enriched flour
*Gluten may also enter your diet if you eat foods that have been processed in a facility that makes gluten-containing foods.
- Gluten free oats
- Animal proteins (chicken, fish, eggs, low-fat cheese)
- Fats (avocado, olives, olive oil, coconut oil)
1. Guidelines For A Gluten-Free Lifestyle ( 4th ed.). (2009). : Celiac Disease Foundation