Health

The Gluten-Free Diet: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

gluten free diet

You can’t go grocery shopping these days without seeing gluten-free snacks and food. Hollywood seems to love this diet, and stars like Gwyneth Paltrow have put a spotlight on this new way of eating.


1. What You Can’t Eat On a Gluten-Free Diet

gluten foods

On this diet, you won’t eat anything that has the gluten protein. It’s in grains like wheat, barley, oats, and rye, so you won’t be eating regular bread, pasta, pizza, or baked goods. Gluten is also found in most processed foods, some sauces, and breaded food.


2. What You Can Eat on a Gluten-Free Diet

gluten free food

If you avoid food with a nutrition label, then you can enjoy a whole foods diet of:

• Fruits and vegetables
• Meat and poultry
• Beans, legumes, nuts, seeds
• Eggs and most dairy products
• Fish and seafood

Unlike a low-carb diet, you can also eat grains like:

• Rice
• Corn and cornflour
• Buckwheat
• Quinoa
• Flax

These days, you can also find many gluten-free flours like rice flour, corn flour, and soy flour to make gluten-free breads, pasta, and baked goods.


3. Who Should Be on a Gluten-Free Diet?

celiac disease

Anyone who has celiac disease has to be on a gluten-free diet. If you have celiac disease, gluten causes inflammation in your intestines and you can’t absorb nutrients properly. Some of the common symptoms include digestive issues like gas, diarrhea, and bloating and other issues like weight loss, anemia, canker sores, anemia, fatigue, and headaches. If you suspect you might have celiac, make an appointment to see your doctor for a blood test and consultation.


4. Should You Try the Gluten-Free Diet?

 

gluten free diet questions

Even people that don’t have celiac disease have been turning to the gluten-free diet these days to address digestive problems. Some experts believe that there is a spectrum of gluten intolerance which celiac disease at one extreme. About 1 percent of the U.S. population has celiac disease, but some experts think that it’s possible that about 10 percent of Americans have non-celiac gluten intolerance or gluten sensitivity.

According to Dr. Daniel Leffler, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School:

We don’t know why this happens, but we do know gluten and related proteins in grains can draw water out of the intestines and feed bacteria in the intestines, causing gas, bloating, and indigestion.


5. You Can Gain Weight on the Gluten-Free Diet

With any diet, there are marketing opportunities. One study showed that 81% of people with celiac disease actually gained weight when they went on a gluten-free diet.

Be aware that many processed gluten-free foods could have more calories and sugar than the traditional recipes, and that just because something is labelled “gluten-free” does not mean it is healthy. As with most diets, stick to conventional wisdom and try to eat as many whole foods as possible.

Whole foods = anything without a nutrition label like a piece of chicken or a carrot


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