Discover the Gluten-Free Diet: benefits, recommendations, care and more.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat and other grains, and therefore it spreads in bread, pasta, conventional flour, semolina, cakes, etc.
For people who have difficulty digesting it (gluten intolerance or celiac disease), it is essential to adopt a gluten-free diet , as the absorption of gluten causes significant digestive disorders.
But in recent years, the gluten-free diet has started to be adopted by people who do not tolerate gluten, due to the health benefits it provides.
Going gluten-free is an important dietary option for many people and can provide many health benefits, such as reduced inflammation, a smoother digestive process, increased energy, clear skin, hair protection, and regulated hormones, among others.
Gluten free diet
The term gluten-free has become a buzzword in recent years and is even considered a fad diet, but there are many misconceptions that need to be understood before jumping into the world of being gluten-free.
For starters, gluten is a type of protein found in wheat, rye, and barley.
However, due to its usefulness as a binding agent and relatively low cost, you can find gluten in many surprising places, such as pickles, sushi, curry powder, hot dogs, and licorice.
Pick up a random food package at the grocery store, and there’s a chance it might contain gluten.
Obviously, completely eliminating gluten from your diet is therefore a challenge, although, in the last decade, gluten-free options have increased exponentially.
Now, the gluten-free diet has come into the spotlight due to increased awareness and diagnosis of celiac disease across the country (and the world), and the understanding that not all chronic stomach concerns can be quickly label IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).
Celiac disease, by definition, is a genetic autoimmune disorder.
When a person with celiac disease consumes gluten, the body identifies the protein as a foreign or dangerous substance, causing an immune response in the small intestine.
This immune response can seriously damage the small villi in the small intestine that are essential for the digestion of food and the absorption of nutrients.
Additionally, the immune response causes vomiting, nausea, fatigue, bloating, weight loss, ADHD, irritability, irritation and rashes, growth retardation, joint pain, depression, and dozens of other symptoms.
Up to 1 in 100 people are believed to have celiac disease, but the diagnosis is still rare.
About 2.5 million people are believed to have undiagnosed celiac disease in the United States alone.
In addition to celiac disease, there are also wheat allergies (1 in 1,000) and gluten sensitivity as reasons to eliminate or greatly reduce the amount of gluten that is included in your diet.
What further complicates this is that many people show no definite or severe symptoms of the disease, but their small intestine is still damaged, sometimes for years.
It may only manifest itself in small ways, like chronic fatigue or eczema, but it won’t become a more obvious health problem for years or even decades.
However, the damage is still being done.
After eliminating gluten from your diet, symptoms can often clear up in a matter of weeks, but damage to your digestive system can take years to fully heal.
The gluten-free trend
With the massive boom in the gluten-free food industry, initially driven by people needing to eliminate gluten, this eating style has also become “trendy” and “popular,” causing many people to try the diet, believing that it can be a healthier option, like cutting carbs.
However, the nutrients found in wheat, rye, and barley are incredibly important to human health.
Gluten itself is related to strengthening immune function and maintaining the balance of the intestinal flora.
Doctors encourage people with gluten sensitivity to “taste” gluten again once a year to see if the sensitivity has decreased, due to the benefits that whole grains have on the body.
In other words, if you are not in the approximately 2% of the population that may suffer from celiac disease, wheat allergy, or gluten sensitivity, eliminating gluten from your diet can have a negative effect on your diet.
Also, if you cut down on your gluten for “modern” reasons, but you actually have celiac disease, it will be much more difficult to diagnose.
The small amount of gluten you consume will continue to damage your intestines over time, even if you aren’t seeing other serious symptoms.
With that said, for those with celiac disease, a wheat allergy, or a gluten sensitivity, there are many health benefits to going on a gluten-free diet!
Health benefits of Gluten-free diet
The health benefits of a gluten-free diet include:
1.- Reduces inflammation
By eliminating gluten, you can prevent the immune response from inflaming the tissues of the small intestine, which can quickly eliminate the more immediate symptoms of celiac disease, such as vomiting or diarrhea.
This inflammation will also mean less cramping and bloating.
2.- Improves digestion
The small intestine is a critical part of human health, as we absorb many critical nutrients in this part of the digestive tract.
Eliminating gluten will protect the villi, ensuring that they can absorb all the nutrients that are available in our diets.
3.- Increase energy
Chronic fatigue is one of the most common complaints from people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease, so cutting out gluten can give you an energy blast.
The gut is a key to overall health, so ensuring you’re in good shape has effects in many other areas.
4.- Skin protection
Rashes, psoriasis, and eczema are seen at higher frequencies in people without a diagnosis of celiac disease.
So if you eliminate gluten under this condition, you can enjoy clear skin that does not itch or discolor when you eat certain foods.
5.- Hair care
One of the long-term effects of gluten attacking the body’s small intestine is nutrient deficiencies.
The body will protect its vital functions, but things like hair growth and health are often secondary, and premature hair loss is common in undiagnosed celiac patients.
Keep your luscious locks in place by cutting out the gluten.
6.- Better immune function
More than 50% of the immune function in our body occurs in the intestine, and when there is chaos in the small intestine, the balance of the flora of bacteria is severely compromised.
This can weaken the overall immune system and lead to chronic illness, so getting rid of gluten is a good idea.
7.- Regulates hormonal levels
Women who suffer from celiac disease or gluten sensitivity often experience menstrual irregularities, often miss periods or are very severe.
By being gluten-free, the immune system can behave properly and prevent imbalance in hormone levels, providing significant relief for many women.
8.- Reduce stress
High levels of anxiety and depression are frequently seen in gluten or wheat intolerant patients.
So if you want to get a good night’s sleep and decrease irritability, cutting out or completely eliminating gluten could be the solution you are looking for.
Final word of warning: If you think you have celiac disease, are gluten sensitive, or have a wheat allergy, talk to your doctor or allergy specialist and get tested, rather than just jumping in the bandwagon and cutting out all the foods in it.
Gluten from your diet. For those people who don’t have all three of these conditions, a gluten-free diet is not only unnecessary but can be dangerous to your health!
Risks of a gluten-free diet
For many, reducing or eliminating it can even lead to weight gain, as most gluten-containing food alternatives are higher in fat.
Also, the gluten-free diet can lead to deficiencies in the essential elements that you will need to get.
The most common deficiencies in the gluten-free diet are:
• B12 vitamin
You can anticipate and find out which foods will help you fill this gap or you can use our vitamin supplements
Of course , some do lose weight, but this is mainly due to the fact that becoming “gluten-free” offers you a smaller variety of foods and therefore reduces your daily caloric intake.
However, whole grains are part of a healthy and balanced diet, and eliminating gluten if you do not have the real need, you lose many nutritional benefits of this type of food (vitamin B, minerals, etc …).
Start a gluten-free diet?
To start, you should focus on maximum consumption of raw / unprocessed foods, such as fruits, vegetables, chicken, fish, and lean meats (all gluten-free).
This is a good way to rule out all sources of gluten in your diet.
Add in that in everyday life, going to the restaurant or going out to eat can quickly get complicated when you are on a gluten-free diet…
So it would be smarter to contact establishments in advance to find out if the menu offers gluten-free options.
Also, do not forget to always inform your server about your sensitivity to gluten, or about your various allergies, as they are used to it and will be happy to help you.
Beware of hidden gluten!
Eating industrial and refined foods is not recommended because gluten can be disguised and not explicitly listed as an ingredient.
However, today most stores have a section dedicated exclusively to gluten-free products.
Products that generally contain gluten:
• Flour in general
• Pita bread
• The cakes
• Cakes and pastries
• The wheat
• Semolina ;
• Oatmeal (which contains a protein that is very similar to gluten but not quite the same)
Also note that many oat and field products will be cross-contaminated, so if you decide to buy oats be sure to buy from a certified gluten-free brand).
What are gluten-free foods?
Excluding gluten from your animation means excluding certain foods from your gluten-free diet…
But fortunately, there are still many gluten-free alternatives for foods like cereals and baked goods, as well as many fresh foods that can replace those that contain gluten.
Potatoes, corn, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, cabbage, lettuce, etc.
•Sauces and spices:
Ketchup, Mayonnaise, Salt, and Pepper – Be wary of soy sauce and general salad dressings that may contain gluten!
•Raw, fresh and unprocessed meat.
Chicken, beef, pork, fish, eggs, etc.
Pay attention to hot dogs, cured meats, and any seasoned / prepared meats as they may contain gluten.
•The milk products:
Milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, cottage cheese …
Pay attention to processed cheeses and blue cheese that may contain gluten in this loaf pan. Also, always check the labels on yogurts, making sure there are no added fiber or grains.
Rice, potatoes, beans, quinoa … and avoid instant puree!
•Nuts and Spreads: