In the past few months gluten has been under attack. The movement to go gluten free has been in the forefront for a variety of reason. The two biggest reasons that come to mind are because health related problems associated with gluten consumption and the new FDA regulations standardizing the amount of gluten that can be present in a food to be classified as gluten free.
Gluten is a protein composite found processed food from wheat, barley, rye and other related species. Gluten gives the spongy and elasticity to breads and provides a chewy texture in some foods.
There are specific diseases such as celiac disease in which gluten can be devastating. In individuals who have celiac disease any amount of gluten detected in the body sets off an allergic response in the digestive system. The body sees gluten as an invader and sets out to seek and destroy. When this happens there are casualties. The inner lining of the small intestine becomes damaged which leads to malabsorption of vital minerals and nutrients. There is no know cure for celiac disease and a gluten free diet has been proven the best means of controlling the disease.
Here is short list of the symptoms associated with celiac disease:
- Digestive problems (abdominal bloating, pain, gas, diarrhea, pale stools, and weight loss)
- A severe skin rash called dermatitis herpetiformis
- Iron deficiency anemia
- Musculoskeletal problems (muscle cramps, joint and bone pain)
- Growth problems in children
- Tingling sensation in the legs
- Aphthous ulcers
- Missed menstrual periods
In addition there are health problems associated with celiac disease:
- Miscarriage or infertility
- Birth defects
Also people who have celiac disease may be dealing with other autoimmune diseases such as:
- Thyroid disease
- Type 1 diabetes
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Sjogren’s syndrome
The side of the health concern on individuals who do not have celiac disease but who may suffer from some of the same symptoms. The terms generally used this condition is non-celia gluten sensitivity (NCGS) or gluten sensitivity or gluten intolerance. This condition is gaining in popularity but is difficult to diagnosed and not quite fully excepted in the medical community.
Given the litany of symptoms and health concerns related to gluten consumption it is no wonder people are choosing to go gluten free. The downside however is most are choosing to go gluten free in an effort to lose weight. The idea of going gluten free in order to lose weight is missed place and in fact can do more harm than good in the long term. Going gluten free isn’t a miracle means of losing weight. The average dieter looking to lose weight by going gluten free just begins to cut grains and other nutrients out of their diet. This can have devastating consequences and cause mineral shortages in the diet; minerals such as iron, fiber, calcium, thiamin, ribroflavin, niacin and folate all of which are important to the body.
People who have seen weight loss because of going gluten free can more than likely contribute that success to making better eating choices. I have to exercise caution hear just because a food is labeled gluten free doesn’t mean it is healthy for you. The same companies who put out the unhealthy processed foods are the same companies producing the gluten free processed foods. Bottom line if the product is unhealthy in gluten form it is probably unhealthy as gluten free.
If you feel that you may have celiac disease or be gluten intolerant seek out a qualified doctor and/or homeopath to help you make the diagnosis and develop a plan of action.