Gluten Free Living… Understanding The Basics And Recognizing The Myths
Have you ever wondered why Gluten Free dieting has become so popular?
It seems to have taken center stage in the nutrition space.
Not everyone knows why exactly.
What are the benefits of a Gluten Free diet? Why would a person need or want to be on a Gluten Free diet to begin with?
Developing an understanding of the basics is the all-important first step for knowing why it’s beneficial.
You need to be able to distinguish the facts from the myths (and there are plenty of myths floating around out there).
Let’s get started…
What the heck is Gluten anyway?
This would seem like a good place to start, right?
Gluten refers to the proteins that are present in barley, rye and wheat. These proteins, when ingested by someone with a Gluten intolerance or Gluten disorder, create a negative reaction in the body.
These reactions can often be quite serious.
People who have celiac disease, for example, can experience serious damage to the cells in their intestines causing a whole host of problems.
Even people that don’t have celiac disease, but have a form of Gluten intolerance will experience uncomfortable symptoms.
So where do you most commonly find Gluten?
You’ll find it in the standard areas of breads, pastas and other baked goods that are made with flour containing Gluten. These are the food culprits most people are aware of.
There are, however, other foods you need to be aware of.
Many processed foods contain Gluten and you need to be able to spot Gluten in other products like soups, sauces, dressings and even beverages. While these may not seem like Gluten containing foods, they certainly can be.
So what are the symptoms of Gluten intolerance?
The symptoms can actually be fairly varied. To start with, let’s name some of the most common ones…
- Consistent and/or recurring stomach pain
- Constipation and/or diarrhea that would be considered chronic
- Chronic fatigue
- Low bone density
- Infertility in which the cause can’t be fully determined
- Joint pain
- Numbness in the hands and/or feet
Again, these are just some of the main symptoms that can result from a Gluten intolerance. There are certainly more and if you suspect Gluten could be the cause of your symptoms, it’s best to check with your health care provider.
Diagnosing a Gluten intolerance follows specific steps so make sure you speak with your physician first.
Ready to debunk some myths?
As with anything that hits the mainstream media, there are plenty of myths circling the ‘Gluten Free’ space.
One of the most common is that living Gluten free leads to weight loss. A Gluten free diet, in and of itself doesn’t inherently promote weight loss. At times, it certainly can, especially when Gluten rich foods are substituted for fruits and vegetables. But weight loss is not an intrinsic benefit of a Gluten-free diet.
The most important myth, however, is that Gluten-free is a ‘healthier’ diet than one that contains Gluten.
Consider two people, neither of which has a Gluten intolerance. One substitutes Gluten with fresh fruits and vegetables. The other substitutes Gluten containing foods for their Gluten-free counterparts (Gluten-free breads, pastas, etc.).
In this case the person bringing in fruits and vegetables will see an improvement in their diet. It likely could be considered healthier.
The other however, consists of foods that have been stripped of certain ingredients. In this case, there is likely no improvement in the overall diet.
So what’s the next step?
At Eiffel Health we are Gluten-free certified and can help answer your questions.
Ultimately, your knowledge is what’s going to make the difference here. Becoming Gluten-free may make a huge impact in your health.
Contact us now to learn more.