Free foods and products have been increasing in the food market for the past
few years. This is great for
people with Celiac Disease, giving them more options and making their everyday
lives easier. Often people will
ask, should I try this diet? Will
it work for me? What is
gluten? The Gluten Free Diet has
increased in popularity recently with celebrities backing it. Let me breakdown the basis of this diet for you and clear up common questions.
is gluten? Gluten is a plant
protein that, for some unlucky people, may irritate (intolerance), annoy
(allergy), or attack your small intestine (celiac disease). Symptoms are of a wide array including
bloating, mouth sores, acne, and unintended weight loss. If Celiac disease is left untreated it
can lead to many long term issues including weak bones, vitamin deficiencies,
and nerve damage.
I try this diet? Unless you have
or suspect to have Celiac disease the answer would be a big NO! Celiac disease is one of the most
complicated diets that, unless forced to (it’s a must if you are diagnosed), no
one should voluntarily want to commit to.
Gluten free diets eliminate any foods containing wheat, rye, barely, and
oat. These include more foods than
you think! Breads, cereals, pasta,
tortillas, beer, communion wafers, food with artificial flavors, and many more!! Besides being very difficult and time
consuming, this diet also eliminates food groups from your diet which ultimately
eliminates vitamins and nutrients you need everyday, including fiber and B
vitamins. There are suspicions
that gluten plays a role in certain disease including autism, autoimmune
disease, and Multiple sclerosis.
However, science has yet to prove this.
do I know if I have Celiac? If you
have some of the common symptoms or feel better once eliminating these foods,
don’t diagnosis yourself, contact your doctor. However, this is not an easy diagnosis. A Celiac Panel must be done which
includes a biopsy of the intestines.
summary, the bottom line is a gluten free diet should not be used as a weight
loss tool. You will only benefit
from it if diagnosed with a gluten intolerance or celiac disease. If your lucky enough to not have these
Estelle L. Benoit, RD, LDN