Is A Gluten Free Diet Right For You?

Posted: November 20, 2008 in health, nutrition, Nutrition Tidbits, Uncategorized
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Much has been made in the media of the benefits of a gluten-free diet and how it may help improve health and increase weight loss. But will it work for you? Before you try this eating plan, read on for a better understanding of how it works.

What is gluten? 
Gluten is a form of protein that is found in barley, oats, wheat, spelt, and rye grains that are used in a wide variety of foods, but are most often associated with pastas and breads. Other foods containing gluten include pizza, beer, whole grain cereals, ice cream, salad dressings, and peanut butter. Gluten can also be found in moisturizers, lipsticks, and envelope adhesives.

Should you go gluten-free? 
If you have been diagnosed with celiac disease, a digestive condition that damages the small intestine and prevents the absorption of essential nutrients from food, eating a gluten-free diet all of the time is the only way to avoid experiencing symptoms such as anemia, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, oral ulcerations, and weight loss. Celiac disease is a common genetic autoimmune disorder that often goes misdiagnosed—usually because the symptoms are mistaken as a sign of something else. It is estimated that as many as one out of 100 people in the United States could have celiac disease. 

In a recent year-long study conducted in Finland, some patients with celiac disease were put on a gluten-free diet, while the rest ate a regular diet that included gluten products. At the end of the year, the gluten-free eaters were all asymptomatic, and the regular eaters were still having symptoms.

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But avoiding all of the food products that contain gluten is a serious challenge, and many people with celiac disease find that they will occasionally experience symptoms after being accidentally exposed to gluten. 

Celiac disease aside, the jury’s still out on the impact that gluten may have on other common ailments, such as arthritis, gout, depression, infertility, bloating and flatulence. Many people also believe that going gluten-free will help them cut back on carbohydrates and speed up their weight loss efforts. But while there’s no scientific evidence backing up these claims, there’s also no harm involved in removing glutens from you diet. It may be worth trying a gluten-free diet for a few weeks to see if you notice any improvements in the way you feel and look.

Get Strong! Stay Strong!
Chris
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