The Benefits of a Gluten Free Diet: Should You Be Gluten Free?
With talk on "gluten-free this" and "gluten-free that", you may be wondering and questioning its safety. While not everyone should be following the popularized diet, learn if you can reap the benefits of going gluten-free diet!
What Is Gluten?
Before criticizing and demeaning the common catchphrase, let's see gluten for what it actually is... Gluten is the general name for the protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and triticale. While oats are naturally gluten-free, they are mostly manufactured with gluten-containing products and may become contaminated. While wheat pasta, rye bread, oatmeal, etc. are obvious sources of gluten, hidden sources include sauces, dressings, and frozen products. But rest assured, there are numerous gluten-free foods to comprise a well-balanced diet, including whole grains and legumes, fruits and veggies, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
Gluten-Free Diet Benefits
The benefits of going gluten-free are primarily related to those managing celiac disease. Also known as coeliac disease, celiac sprue, non-tropical sprue, and gluten sensitivity enteropathy, 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. In a nutshell, the body believes and comprehends gluten is a harmful substance, thus attacking its own GI lining and cascading unpleasant and negative side effects.
Ridding gluten from the diet can detour a number of short and long-term symptoms and consequences, including uncomfortable short-term signs and symptoms such as diarrhea, bloating, and gas. Prolonged exposure to gluten can also produce significant health risks, including nutritional deficiencies and conditions such as iron deficiency anemia, vitamin deficiencies and mineral deficiencies, malnutrition, and lactose intolerance. Protecting the digestive lining by dismissing gluten can help mitigate such risks and ultimately improve quality of life.
Should You Be Gluten-Free?
First and foremost, gluten is not a harmful compound in all individuals. In fact, only one percent of the general U.S. population is diagnosed with celiac disease. But for those with a true diagnosis, a gluten-free diet is warranted and the only known treatment at this time. Other individuals who may benefit from a gluten-free diet are those sensitive to gluten (non-celiac gluten intolerance), managing irritable bowel disease (IBD), and potentially autism.
But before going gluten-free, it is important for prospective followers consult with a healthcare profession, as there are dangers that may arise following the diet. Eliminating gluten also eliminates other essential nutrients from the diet, as wheat, barley, rye, and oats contain fiber, iron, niacin, folate, and several B vitamins. Absence of these beneficial nutrients can increase the risk of constipation, anemia, energy loss, diarrhea, and several other health concerns.
Individuals should also consider the impact of going gluten-free, as they may feel overwhelmed and potentially embarrassed trying to select safe foods at a restaurant and social event. Though successful adherence to a gluten-free diet is achievable, it can be tough to cut out gluten and wide variety of foods. A healthcare professional can help you navigate such options, along with providing and assistance in any hesitations and questions that may arise.
The Benefits of a Gluten-Free Diet with bistroMD
And the benefits of a gluten-free diet can be extended with bistroMD... bistroMD is the nation's leading weight loss meal delivery service, offering well-balanced meals directly to your doorstep. Along with being supplied with doctor-designed, dietitian-approved, and chef-approved meals, individuals can select a gluten-free program. And with a completely customizable menu and numerous options to choose from, you will have no problem finding something delicious to satisfy your taste buds, all while ensuring your individualized nutritional needs are being meet. (Meals may be free of gluten but they are not free of flavor!) And the best part? It only takes a few weeks to start seeing results! Find more information on bistroMD and the gluten-free meal programs it offers here.