Have you ever asked, “Is a gluten free diet good for me?” Do you know what gluten free means?
Gluten free diets are not a fad.
Some people will associate diet plans such as the Atkins diet with glutens. Actually, that would not be accurate.
Atkins focuses on eliminating carbohydrates. The diet includes avoiding grains such as wheat, rye and barley.
That ends the similarities of Atkins and gluten free.
Celiac disease is the most serious disease related to glutens. It goes widely undiagnosed. Some reports say that as many as 80% of those with the autoimmune disease, do not know they have it.
The symptoms a varied and difficult to attach to the disease.
- fatigue and malnutrition
- vitamin deficiency.
- Headaches or migraines
- Acid reflux
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss or gain
- Joint pain
- Fibromyalgia or Muscle Pain
What we list here are the high points. There are dozens of possible symptoms that may indicate the disease.
It is the protein Gliadin that people react negatively to. It is found in wheat, (many varieties and derivatives) rye, barley and malt. This of course, includes flour. The list of food products that include gluten is long.
Avoiding glutens is the treatment for the symptoms associated with celiac disease. Experts seem to agree that there is no absolute form of diagnoses.
Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity
Keeping in mind that celiac disease is difficult to diagnose, understand that there is such a thing as gluten sensitivity. It is that, rather than a disease that may affect many who may see symptoms listed above.
Again, avoiding glutens is the normal and sensible approach. It is safe and requires no additional medications.
Common foods that contain gluten
- Breads and pastries
- Baked Goods
- Traditional soy sauce, cream sauces made with a roux
- Sauces & Gravies (many use wheat flour as a thickener)
- Cereal & Granola:
- Flour tortillas
- Brewer’s Yeast
- Breakfast Foods:
- Beer (unless explicitly gluten-free)
- Anything else that uses “wheat flour” as an ingredient
This list is certainly not exhaustive. There are many products that have glutens used in their manufacturing. Check the labels carefully. An example can be energy bars. Even as you consider other healthy properties, many are not gluten free.
One important consideration is the cross contact in storage, shared utensils in handling and shared cooking processes.
Examples of cross contact can be as simple as the toaster at your local Panera Bread. If you are seeking a gluten free bagel and all the other bagels are run through the same toaster, yours will likely find cross contact contamination. You may have glutens.
What you can eat
- Meat and poultry
- Fish and seafood
- Beans, legumes, and nuts
Nobody will starve on a gluten free diet. The foods listed above have no restrictions other than not preparing them with gluten products. Examples will include breading chicken with flour or adding croutons to a green salad.
There are some grains not in the gluten family they include:
- Corn and several other grains.
As mentioned earlier. The key to healthy gluten free diets will involve careful inspection of labels.
I know a lady who for years struggled with weight, bloating, digestive issues, all very unpleasant. Finally her doctor advised a gluten free diet.
The changes were not immediate, but they were dramatic. She shared with me the transition period when she needed to be diligent in food selections, dining out challenges and her cooking habits.
Over a period of about a year her weight went down nicely, her bloating ceased and her complexion improved. Is a gluten free diet good for you? For the woman I know, it made all the difference in the world.
As with so many things, consult your doctor for what’s best. Gluten free diets do not seem to have any side effects. I am given to believe it can’t hurt, but it certainly can help.
Questions or comment? I would like to hear form you. Drop them in the comments section.