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It seems like everyone is going gluten-free nowadays but is that a good idea? What does gluten-free mean anyway?
What Does Gluten-Free Mean?
A gluten-free diet is a diet that prohibits gluten, which is a protein that is found in grains like wheat, barley, rye, and triticale (which is a cross between wheat and rye). In case you are curious, gluten is what gives dough its elastic properties, and also gives bread products their texture.
However, gluten can trigger serious health concerns in some individuals, and avoiding all food products that have gluten can be challenging for those who need to. One health concern that can arise from gluten sensitivity is Celiac disease. This is a serious autoimmune disease in which consuming gluten causes damage to the GI tract. Celiac disease is the most acute form of gluten intolerance, however, some individuals might find that they have a milder form of gluten intolerance and may also suffer from side effects from consuming gluten products.
Because the symptoms of gluten intolerance are not necessarily tied to digestive issues, as you might think, it might be difficult for those with gluten intolerance to pinpoint what is causing them to feel, well, sick.
What are the Signs of Gluten Intolerance?
- Digestive issues such as bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation
- Muscle aches and pains
- Numbness in the arms or legs
- Skin conditions, like psoriasis
- Mental health disorders, like anxiety and depression
Who Should Go Gluten-Free?
If you find that you are experiencing any, or all, of the symptoms above, visit your doctor to find out if you might be gluten intolerant. Your doctor may place you on an elimination diet to find out if you are, in fact, gluten intolerant before diagnosing you as such.
Following a gluten-free diet if you are not gluten intolerant is not recommended, as it can negatively impact your digestive health, as well as make it unnecessarily difficult to consume the right amount of fiber every day.
While getting on a gluten-free diet might seem appealing for weight loss unless you are actually gluten-intolerant there is really no need to begin this diet.