You might hear gluten-free food popping out of health food stores, showing on your social media timeline, and even people making their gluten-free meals. You might even find it at restaurants serving gluten-free dishes.
It is usually for people who can’t tolerate gluten, but it is becoming so popular and hip even if you can tolerate gluten. There have been testimonials from the media and people who have been doing gluten-free diets that it can lose weight, boost energy, and make you feel healthier.
So, let's find out why more people are switching to gluten-free, and is it the healthiest way to add to your lifestyle. Also, we will find out what gluten-free is all about and how to have a gluten-free diet.
What Is Gluten?
Gluten is a family of proteins that is commonly found in grains like wheat, rye, and barley. Wheat is the most popular of all.
There are two main proteins that you can find in gluten, and those are glutenin and gliadin. Gliadin is the sole responsible for why gluten has adverse effects. The gluten proteins form a sticky glue-like consistency when you mix flour with water. It is responsible for the dough elasticity and helps the bread to rise when baking. Because of this, you will have a chewy and nice texture.
Why Does Gluten Cause Trouble?
If you have celiac disease, you won’t be able to tolerate gluten even in small amounts. It would cause you trouble even if you had a small part of it, for example, a small crouton. The gluten triggers your immune response that damages the lining of your small intestine. Due to this, it won’t absorb nutrients from the food you eat and eventually cause many health problems.
Gluten for people with celiac disease can cause infertility, nerve damage, osteoporosis, and even seizures. There is another related condition if you have gluten sensitivity with similar symptoms called non-celiac gluten sensitivity. You will be able to find out if you have gluten sensitivity through a blood test, and it can be confirmed through a biopsy of the intestine.
Why Do You Need To Be Gluten-Free?
There are a lot of reasons that you need to have a gluten-free diet. First, if you have celiac disease and another one is if you have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. For some people, they want to have a gluten-free diet because they think it is healthier.
It isn’t easy to have a gluten-free lifestyle because you need to give up a lot of traditional food like bread, pizza, cereals, beer, frozen vegetables, soy sauce, sauces, and any food with natural flavorings. It doesn’t stop there, as gluten can be found in vitamin and mineral supplements and even toothpaste. It would be very challenging to have a gluten-free lifestyle, and you need to have a lot of determination.
How To Start A Gluten-Free Diet?
Having a gluten-free diet is more accessible these days because many gluten-free products are out in the market. You could just read the labels for you to determine if they contain gluten. Usually, food that has barley, rye, and wheat are labeled as grain and have gluten.
According to FDA rules, foods that are labeled gluten-free should have fewer 20 parts per million of gluten, and it should have a proper label.
Here are some ways on how you can start with your gluten-free diet.
Naturally Gluten-Free Food
There are ways to have naturally gluten-free food, preparing food or dishes that don’t contain any gluten. The food shouldn’t also be cross-contaminated with any gluten-containing ingredients during its making, and the ingredients that will be used shouldn’t have gluten too.
If you are an occasional alcoholic drinker, there are naturally gluten-free alcoholic beverages like grapes or juniper berries that can be taken.
Wheat, barley, and rye are the typical ingredients that have gluten. It is why processed foods have grains because it serves as a thickening agent, coloring and used for flavoring. To ensure that the processed food you are buying is gluten-free, you need to read the label carefully.
Medications And Supplements
Medications such as prescriptions and over the counter medications can use gluten as part of its ingredients. If you have a problem with gluten, you need to be transparent about your situation to your health provider to prescribe you the suitable medications and supplements.
It is hard for people who have a gluten-free diet to eat out because most restaurants don't offer gluten-free dishes or food. Some restaurants can accommodate your request for any gluten-free dish that you might want, but you must consider that it won’t always be accommodated depending on the time you are going to order it. Since gluten-free is becoming hip right now, more gluten-free restaurants are popping out, and it makes gluten-free diets easier for people.
What Food Is High In Gluten?
If you are curious, what are the foods that are high in gluten, then here are the most common sources.
Some processed food
What Food Is Gluten-Free?
There are many naturally gluten-free foods that you can use in preparing different dishes to accommodate your gluten-free diet.
Beverages except for beer
Benefits Of Gluten-Free Diet
There are a lot of benefits of why you should have a gluten-free diet.
It can improve cholesterol levels
It can promote digestive health
It can increase the body’s energy levels
It can eliminate processed food from your body
It can reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes as well as certain cancers
It can protect your from germs and viruses from food
Side Effects Of Gluten-Free Diet
If there are benefits, there are also side effects of a gluten-free diet.
You can have nutritional deficiencies, especially with B vitamins
Not advisable for pregnant women
You won’t get enough fiber that your body needs
The diet is restrictive and challenging
Gluten-free hasn’t been known to most people, but because there is a buzz about a healthy way to eat, most people are getting to learn more about the diet. Many people use a gluten-free diet because of their celiac disease and have to follow it strictly.
However, it is not for everyone and is not recommended for everyone because it is challenging. You will be restricted from eating a lot of food, and most gluten-free products are expensive. Since the diet is restrictive, it can cause deficiencies that make it isn’t healthy at all.
If you want to have a gluten-free diet, then you should replace it with other carbs to make sure you won’t have a deficiency when it comes to B-vitamins and fibers. Before going through with the gluten-free diet, you should always ask your physician to make sure you will be healthy to go through it.