Get An Understanding of Gluten




What is Gluten?

These days everyone is going gluten-free, but what really is gluten and why is everyone trying to avoid it in their daily diet?

Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, rye, and barley. Another place it is commonly found is in pre-packaged foods as an additive to give flavor, as well as a thickener. You would be very surprised to learn what foods actually contain gluten. Some of the items are hot dogs, blue cheese, puddings and salad dressings.

No matter where you turn these days, it is common to hear about is who is going on a gluten-free diet. In Hollywood alone, there are many including Gwyneth Paltrow, Zooey Deschanel and even the famous weatherman from NBC Today Show, Al Roker, which all are gluten-free. Celebrity talk show host, Elizabeth Hasselbeck, wrote the book The G-Free Diet, where she shares her personal story about battling with the celiac disease. So, is it a fad diet? That’s what you might think after reading a number of comments on the articles about going gluten-free. Most people do not understand what it is or how it is affecting about 18 million Americans who suffer from gluten intolerance. That is at least six times more than those suffering from the true celiac disease.

To totally understand what going “G-free” means, first let’s answer the question: “what is gluten?” It is a protein that is found in wheat, rye, and barley grains. Because of its physical properties, it is commonly found in pre-packaged foods as an additive to give flavor and thicken dough. You would be very surprised to discover what foods contain gluten.

Oats, which are commonly misconceived as being full of gluten, are not. Oats can become “contaminated” from processing on the same machinery that gluten-rich grains are. There are certain brands that are conscious of processing gluten-free grains, and those grains containing gluten are packaged separately and labeled accordingly. Those diagnosed with celiac disease are encouraged to research food companies and their processing techniques to avoid trace amounts of gluten in their oats.

There is a major difference between true celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Celiac disease is an inability to absorb the gluten protein and may be the result of having an intolerance that was undiagnosed. Being gluten intolerant is considered an autoimmune disease that comes from inflammation of all organ systems within the body. If one does not avoid gluten in foods when intolerant, damage can occur in the small intestine and will ultimately decrease nutrient absorption into the body among other possible health issues.

In some cases, intolerance or celiac disease has been overlooked or misdiagnosed due to the fact that symptoms can vary from person to person. Some of the common symptoms of gluten intolerance are:

  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Abdominal pain and bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Hair loss
  • Unexplained iron-deficiency Anemia
  • Depression or Anxiety
  • Acne
  • Itchy skin rash known as Dermatitis Herpetiformis

According to The New England Journal of Medicine, some of the diseases that could be caused by eating gluten and ignoring symptoms are:

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Autism- there has been a possible link to gluten.
  • Migraines- there has been a possible link to gluten.
  • Irritable Bowel Disease
  • Thyroid conditions
  • Multiple Sclerosis

All the research demonstrates that celiac disease and gluten intolerance are not just a fad diet. Some may turn to a gluten-free diet for weight loss, which may or may not be successful. If there is suspected intolerance, turning to a gluten-free diet may increase one’s energy and gastrointestinal comfort as a result.

Read article on Healthy Gut Guide

2 Responses to Get An Understanding of Gluten
  1. Mike
    May 14, 2017 | 5:40 am

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      June 6, 2017 | 10:50 am

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