We have all heard the about the gluten diet fad, it has taken over eating, there is everything from some foods with the label “gluten-free,” to restaurants now offering gluten-free options. This has all transpired because many people choosing not to eat anything that contains gluten anymore for dieting purposes. However, for some people, going gluten free is not a choice, but instead a necessity. Gluten takes a large toll on those with Celiac disease, which is why September 13 is Celiac Awareness Day– to create awareness of what the disease is, and the struggle that the people who have it have to go through.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, barley, and rye in order to help them stretch and give bread structure. Many people think that gluten is only in foods such as bread, pizza, and pasta, but it is in more than just bread and pasta. Gluten can be found in a wide variety of things, such as in cereals, oats such as granola, soups and sauces that use wheat as a thickening agent, and even drinks such as beer.
People with celiac disease have different symptoms than those who are just allergic to wheat or barley. People with allergies are more likely to experience hives, or swelling, but for people with celiac disease, they are affected more internally, mainly in their gastrointestinal. If they eat anything with gluten in it, they can experience anything from diarrhea, bloating, fatigue, damage to the lining of their gut, and can even damage their small intestine. If someone with this disease eats gluten and has a flare up that causes small intestine damage, the body cannot absorb nutrients from food, and can eventually cause osteoporosis, nerve damage, seizures, and even infertility.
Only about 1 percent of the population actually has celiac disease and have to avoid gluten, but the others who have taken on the fad, do it to lose weight or think it is healthier for their body. But it is actually quite the opposite, there has been research that shows going gluten-free when not needing to can be harmful. One research done by Harvard Medical School found that doing this fad diet can cause heart problems. Gluten-free foods are highly processed and have less nutrients that food with gluten. Foods with gluten have fiber, antioxidants and minerals that fuel the body and are necessary. Going gluten-free can also slow down your metabolism.
The gluten-free fad has become a craze over the past year or so, and while it might seem like it is a healthier choice, it is actually more harmful. If you are trying to lose weight or become more healthy, there are other options such as eating more vegetables and protein, and working out.
For those who are suffering from celiac disease, it is imperative to cut out gluten in order to survive. Damage to your small intestine can become very serious and lead to other issues as stated earlier. If you think you might have celiac disease, you should contact your doctor with your concerns, or go see a gastroenterologist.