Surprising Facts You Probably Didn't Know about Going Gluten Free
Knowing what going gluten-free actually means is critical to healthy, balanced diet. Because despite why one follows a gluten-free diet, there are additional factors to consider.
Giving up gluten has become a popular diet trend. But for some, giving up gluten is critical for maintaining good health.
Individuals living with celiac disease rely on the elimination of gluten. Currently, adopting a gluten-free diet is the only successful treatment to alleviate unpleasant signs and symptoms. It is also prevent further health risks, including osteoporosis.
Others strip gluten-containing foods related to sensitivities and intolerances, conditions without a true celiac diagnosis. Some might have jumped on the gluten-free train in part of its popularity in the health world.
But knowing what going gluten-free actually means is critical for ensuring a healthy, balanced diet. Because regardless of why one might follow a gluten-free diet, there are additional factors needing consideration.
What Does Gluten-Free Mean?
Before establishing what being "free" of gluten entails, it is worthy to identify what gluten actually is.
Gluten is a protein found in a variety of grains, particularly the "big 3" known as wheat, barley, and rye. It is also sourced from crossbreeds of these grains such as triticale. It is also found in their respective products, including wheat breads and pastas.
In August 2013, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a final rule to help diminish the uncertainty of gluten-free foods. This defined what characteristics a food requires bear a "gluten-free" claim. The rule also holds foods labeled "without gluten," "free of gluten," and "no gluten" to the same standard.
To be designated as "gluten-free," a product must not contain 20 ppm (parts per million) of gluten. This is the lowest level that can be consistently detected using scientific measurements.
Understanding a Gluten-Free Diet
Again, gluten is the protein that naturally occurs in wheat, barley, and rye. It also is found in their byproducts, including wheat pastas, breads, and cereals.
That being said, a gluten-free diet is essentially an eating pattern devoid of these grains and the foods they produce. But aside from the recognizable sources of gluten, some products may be hidden with gluten. These often include sauces, dressings, and marinades. Cosmetics and medications are also unlikely culprits.
Taking advantage of the FDA's label law can help one determine if gluten is present in that product. Knowing which foods to eat for a healthy gluten-free diet is also extremely helpful. Such foods include the following:
• Gluten-free grains, such as amaranth, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats, and rice varieties
• All fresh fruits and veggies
• Beans and legumes
• Meat and poultry products
• Fish and seafood
• Nuts and seeds
• Milk and dairy products
• Soy and soybean products
When in doubt, though, look for any sort of indication of gluten-free on the product label. Contacting the manufacturer can also help determine if a produce is devoid of gluten.
But before removing gluten from the diet, always consult with a healthcare professional. Besides, there are more than likely things you may have not known about going gluten-free, including positive and negative outcomes.
Is Gluten-Free Bad for You?
Eliminating gluten also naturally eliminates other essential nutrients from the diet, especially if not replenished from other sources.
Wheat, barley, and rye are the prominent sources of gluten and contain valuable vitamins and minerals. Iron, niacin, folate, and several B vitamins can be compromised after eliminating those notorious gluten sources. These deficiencies can result in anemia, energy loss, diarrhea, and several others.
Looking at fiber specifically, it aids in digestion and reduces the chance for constipation. Fiber has also been shown to reduce total cholesterol. Fiber sources include fruits and vegetables and are commonly found in the gluten-containing grains.
The recommended fiber intake is 25 grams per day for women and 38 grams per day for men. Unfortunately, the general population does not consume adequate fiber, with only 15 grams being consumed on average. Taking away a high-fiber source can reduce its intake even further.
Taking to some gluten-free products can also lead to weight gain and prompt additional deficiency risk. For instance, some tend to attribute "gluten-free" to healthy. However, those gluten-free cookies are often still laden in refined sugar and oils. These products tend to supply empty calories and pose the risk for weight gain.
Is Gluten-Free Good for You?
Going gluten-free is essential for those managing certain medical conditions, especially those impacting the digestive system.
The most well-known condition requiring a gluten-free diet is celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder characterized by an abnormal response to ingested gluten. When individuals with celiac disease consume gluten, it disturbs the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and the "toxic" fragments stimulate an immune response.
Essentially, the body believes and comprehends gluten is a harmful substance, thus attacking its own GI lining. This leads to unpleasant symptoms, including abdominal bloating and pain, gas, vomiting, diarrhea, and fatigue.
A gluten-free diet is the only known treatment to alleviate symptoms. Long-term compliance to a gluten-free diet also lowers the risks of additional health complications often related to nutrient deficiencies. For instance, being deficient in calcium increases the risk of osteoporosis, or bone loss. A deficiency in iron can result to anemia.
Those with a gluten sensitivity or gluten ataxia can also benefit from removing gluten from the diet. Individuals managing a wheat allergy also need to cut out gluten-containing wheat.
Gluten research also expands beyond common gastrointestinal conditions and allergies. There is some research showing gluten removal reduces autistic behaviors and depressive symptoms.
Parents with children diagnosed with autism report reduced autistic behaviors when implementing a casein and gluten-free diet. Casein is a milk protein found in dairy products while gluten is the protein found in a variety of grains. Some parents report reduced behaviors when eliminating casein while others look to gluten for reduced behaviors.
Researchers claim the improved behaviors may be related to a change in diet, including increasing nutritious lean proteins, vegetables, and fruits. There is also reduction in sweets. Nonetheless, researchers seek further studies for conclusive evidence despite the parental claims.
Managing the associated signs and symptoms of celiac disease or gluten intolerance can be stressful to deal with. Such added stress may lead to feelings of depression. Following a gluten-free diet can help alleviate these negative consequences.
This can in turn reduce the potential for triggered psychological symptoms of depression. Researchers suggest individuals may feel better as more of a psychological response rather than intestinal.
Does Going Gluten-Free Mean Anything to You?
The intentions of following a gluten-free diet vary from person-to-person. As one might truly need a gluten-free diet, another might desire one due to its popularity.
However, it is always important to consult with a healthcare professional before removing any large food group from the diet. They may further recommend working with a dietitian. Their expertise can guide you to healthy gluten-free food options. They also help fill in the nutritional gaps after eliminating such a wide-spread food item.
Trusting in a meal delivery service offering a gluten-free program can help ensure nutritional needs are being met. Ordering gluten-free meals from a meal delivery service offers a peace of mind and alleviates substantial pressures. It also takes out the guesswork of healthy eating.
All meals are tested to the Food and Drug Administration gluten-free standard of 20 ppm or less. They also do not contain wheat, rye, barley, or their constitutes. Meals are also crafted with fresh, all natural ingredients and combine the nutritional requirements of a gluten-free diet. Every bite taken is also proven to facilitate weight loss and sustain a healthy lifestyle!
Also enjoy a completely customizable menu and numerous recipes, including a western egg scramble, shepherd's pie, and Thai coconut chicken. Truly, never feel limited of gluten-free options, robbed of flavor, or deprived of nutrients!