Strengths And Limitations Of Study
Our measurement of gluten intake was based on the assumption that gluten comprised 75% of the protein content of wheat, rye, and barley, following the convention of a single conversion factor for all three grains.2223 Although this may overestimate the amount of gluten intake for rye and barley, it is unlikely to bias our results given the overall low intake of rye and barley in these cohorts. Although gluten has not been specifically quantified in validation studies of food frequency questionnaires, this instrument has shown good validity with regard to reasonable correlation with seven day dietary recall of foods containing gluten and intake of vegetable protein, to which gluten is a significant contributor.29 In addition, participants with undiagnosed celiac disease were not uniformly identified in these cohorts. However, according to population based estimates, such people would account for less than 1% of the cohort.3 Moreover, inclusion of these participants would be expected to bias the results toward an association of gluten with coronary heart disease, which was not observed.
May Help Boost Energy
People with celiac disease often feel tired or sluggish. They may also experience brain fog, which is characterized by confusion, forgetfulness, and difficulty focusing .
These symptoms may result from nutrient deficiencies caused by damage to the gut. For example, an iron deficiency can lead to anemia, which is common in celiac disease .
If you have celiac disease, switching to a gluten-free diet may help boost your energy levels and stop you from feeling tired and sluggish.
According to one literature review, people with celiac disease experienced significantly more fatigue than those without celiac disease. Not only that, but five of the seven studies included in the review concluded that following a gluten-free diet was effective at reducing fatigue (
Nutrients Not To Miss On A Gluten
To help us meet all of our nutrient needs, various common food products are infused with vitamins and minerals that can be otherwise easily missed from our diet.
The term fortified is used to describe adding these nutrients to food products. Many gluten containing whole wheat products were chosen to be fortified with these vitamins and minerals, which is one of the reasons why nutrient deficiencies can occur on a gluten-free diet.
Common Nutrient Deficiencies in Gluten-Free Diets & How to Avoid Them
Important nutrients that are frequently low in a gluten-free diet include calcium, fiber, iron, vitamin D and various B vitamins. The good news is that you can still get all of these nutrients gluten-free – you just have to know where to find them.
*Osteopenia / Rickets = Weak Bones Anemia = Low Hemoglobin Blood Count, Glossitis = Enlarged Tongue
Vitamin supplements can also be helpful. But remember, its all about getting the right amounts of what you need there is such a thing as too many vitamins! Vitamin toxicity can occur when taking too many of these supplements and this is also bad for your health. So always take vitamin supplements only as directed.
Bottom Line: A gluten-free diet can absolutely be healthy and sustainable. But because gluten is found in so many food types, its easy to exclude important nutrients when eating strictly gluten-free. Its also easy to accidentally eat gluten.
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I Dont Have Celiac Disease Or Gluten Intolerance Is It Safe To Avoid Gluten
Absolutely! Some people choose to follow a gluten-free diet merely because it provides structure to eating healthier and adopting a healthy lifestyle.
DiGeronimo says, Its safe, but not necessary. Gluten free foods tend to lack certain vitamins/minerals and fiber.
Just remember to consume a varied diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and legumes to avoid vitamin/mineral deficiencies and promote a healthy weight and lifestyle.
How To Eat Healthy On A Gluten
You can absolutely have a robust and healthy lifestyle gluten-free, whatever your reasoning.
However, eating gluten-free can make it harder for many people to get all of the nutrients they need due to so many food restrictions. It can be very challenging to find the right foods for a balanced diet that include all of the required nutrients and are gluten-free. In fact this can be the most difficult part of getting good nutrition without gluten.
Bottom line: you can consume a healthy and balanced diet with or without gluten. Whats important is that you get all the necessary nutrients in a personalized diet that is right for you
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Healing Power Of Food
It was the overwhelming consistency of the preventive power of nutritionas well as the realization that simply putting people on medications was a crutch and not a curethat led me to found Step One Foods. Our mission is to make eating strategically for heart disease prevention easy and delicious. Certified gluten free, every Step One product contains all of the building blocks of heart health at clinically meaningful levels. And, on average, we have demonstrated LDL cholesterol reductions of 39 points in just 30 days. Thats a pharmaceutical level effect and a true testament to the power of food in reducing cardiovascular risk.
We all know that what we eat has a significant impact on our health. In fact, no one experiences the adverse effects of eating the wrong foods more acutely than celiac patients. However, we cant just approach nutrition with a strategy to merely avoid harm. Whether you are a celiac patient or someone simply trying to eat better, actively incorporating foods and ingredients with documented health benefits is the most effective approach to ensuring long-term health and vitalityespecially if you are at increased risk for heart disease.
Learn more about the health and medical experts who who provide you with the cutting-edge resources, tools, news, and more on Gluten-Free Living.
What About Autism Epilepsy And Schizophrenia
Some people are concerned that gluten could be linked with developmental differences or medical conditions. This is a misconception. While gluten intolerance may be more likely in these populations, there is no evidence that eating gluten causes these differences.
The following sections explore this in more detail.
concluded that there is little evidence that a gluten-free diet has benefits for the symptoms of autism in children.
There may be a link between celiac disease and epilepsy.
In a small 2016 study of 113 people with epilepsy, around 6% tested positive for celiac disease.
In this study, 6 out of 7 of these patients had their seizures completely under control and were able to discontinue antiepileptic medications after 5 months on the gluten-free diet.
This suggests that people with epilepsy and celiac disease will benefit from a gluten-free diet.
People with schizophrenia may be more likely to have celiac disease.
A found that a gluten-free diet may benefit a subpopulation of people with schizophrenia who have a sensitivity to gluten.
However, more research is needed before recommending a gluten-free diet for a person with schizophrenia.
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How Do I Get Started With A Gluten
If youre interested in trying a gluten-free diet, talk to a physician or a registered dietitian. They can guide you toward a balanced eating plan that meets your unique nutritional needs.
Tips for making dietary changes if you have celiac disease include:
- Check for warnings on packages. Many products that dont contain gluten may have been processed in a facility where there are gluten products.
- Keep kitchen utensils, dishes and other food prep items that are used for gluten-containing foods separate from your utensils.
- Read ingredient labels carefully to check for any traces of wheat. Some artificial colors and seasonings also contain gluten.
- Substitute oat, buckwheat, quinoa or other gluten-free or alternative grain flours for wheat flour in cooking and baking.
What Is Gluten And Who Should Go Gluten
As a registered dietitian, at least one patient a week asks me about the merits of going gluten-free. And many of the people asking these questions can tolerate gluten and are just looking for a quick fix.
But going gluten-free when you don’t have a gluten allergy or intolerance involves unpacking what a gluten-free diet entails and investigating why you want to make that choice. Let’s be clear: People who have celiac disease absolutely need to remove gluten from their diets and people who are intolerant may need to as well. People who have a non-celiac gluten sensitivity are sensitive or intolerant to gluten to a lesser degree than someone with celiac. Outside of that, it’s important to think twice and make an informed choice before going gluten-free just for the sake of it.
Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disorder, where the body recognizes the prolamins â a type of plant protein â in gluten as a foreign invader and tries to fight itself. Gluten is a protein complex made up of prolamins and glutelins and is found in wheat, barley and rye, according to a February 2017 article in the âJournal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.â For people with celiac, gluten is incredibly damaging to the gut.
As a result, the body doesn’t absorb certain nutrients, resulting in nutrient imbalances, increased risk of osteoporosis, seizures, nerve damage and more.
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Can Help Reduce Chronic Inflammation In Those With Celiac Disease
Inflammation is a natural process that helps the body treat and heal infection.
Sometimes inflammation can get out of hand and last weeks, months, or even years. This is known as chronic inflammation and may lead to various health problems in the long run .
A gluten-free diet can help reduce chronic inflammation in those with celiac disease.
In fact, a gluten-free diet can reduce markers of inflammation, like antibody levels, and may also help treat gut damage caused by gluten-related inflammation in those with celiac disease .
People with NCGS may also have low levels of inflammation, but its not completely clear if a gluten-free diet can reduce their inflammation .
Will I Go Through Gluten Withdrawal If I Start Eating Gluten
Theres no scientific evidence to suggest that people actually go through withdrawal when they stop eating gluten. Some people report feeling dizziness, nausea, extreme hunger and even anxiety and depression when they suddenly go from eating a lot of gluten to being gluten-free. These symptoms usually go away after a few weeks on a gluten-free diet, but talk to your health care provider if they persist.
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How Can I Identify And Avoid Foods And Drinks That Contain Gluten
A registered dietitian can help you learn to identify and avoid foods and drinks that contain gluten when you shop, prepare foods at home, or eat out.
For example, when you shop and eat at home
- carefully read food labels to check for grains that contain glutensuch as wheat, barley, and ryeand ingredients or additives made from those grains.
- check for gluten-free food labeling.
- don’t eat foods if you arent sure whether they contain gluten. If possible, contact the company that makes the food or visit the companys website for more information.
- store and prepare your gluten-free foods separately from other family members foods that contain gluten to prevent cross-contact.
When you eat out at restaurants or social gatherings
- before you go out to eat, search online for restaurants that offer a gluten-free menu.
- review restaurant menus online or call ahead to make sure a restaurant can accommodate you safely.
- at the restaurant, let the server know that you have celiac disease. Ask about food ingredients, how food is prepared, and whether a gluten-free menu is available. Ask to talk with the chef if you would like more details about the menu.
- when attending social gatherings, let the host know you have celiac disease and find out if gluten-free foods will be available. If not, or if you are unsure, bring gluten-free foods that are safe for you to eat.
Can Help You Lose Weight
Its not unusual to lose weight once you start following a gluten-free diet.
The diet eliminates many high-calorie, processed foods and often replaces them with fruit, vegetables, and lean proteins.
Avoid processed gluten-free foods such as cakes, pastries, and snacks if youre trying to lose weight. They can quickly add a lot of calories to your diet.
Instead, focus on eating plenty of whole, unprocessed foods such as fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins to reach and maintain a moderate weight while also meeting your nutritional needs.
A gluten-free diet can provide many health benefits, especially for those with celiac disease. It may help ease digestive symptoms, reduce chronic inflammation, boost energy, and promote weight loss.
Despite having a variety of health benefits, a gluten-free diet could also lead to certain side effects and has downsides to consider.
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People With Celiac Disease
A gluten-free diet is necessary for people with celiac disease, an autoimmune response to gluten that causes the body to attack the small intestine, causing belly pain, nausea, bloating or diarrhea. People with celiac disease cant tolerate gluten in any form, and need to follow a gluten-free diet for the rest of their lives. If you have celiac and accidentally eat gluten, youll probably experience the same symptoms you did before you went gluten-free.
What This Means For You
So, how can you use these findings to decide whether to embrace gluten or avoid it?
Figure out if gluten is really the problem. Dr. Chan says that the evidence to date shows that gluten-free diets should be reserved for people who have a health reason to avoid gluten, such as celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. If you have symptoms that you think are triggered by gluten, ask your doctor to test you for celiac disease. There is no test for gluten sensitivity, but your doctor may suggest you make dietary changes to find out if gluten is the culprit.
Be skeptical. In the diet world, experts are always promoting the next big thing, but science often doesnt back them up. I think the low-fat phenomenon is a good example of a situation where some people take it to the extreme and cut out all fat, and as a consequence substitute foods that are harmful, such as sugar and refined grains, says Dr. Chan. Many people adopted low-fat lifestyles in pursuit of better health, but ultimately may have done more harm than good. So, think twice before you jump on the next dietary bandwagon. I think the take-home message from this study is that we should approach any diet that has very restrictive features with caution, says Dr. Chan. A lot of diets get popularized by the lay press or dietary gurus, when there is really little information to substantiate their claims.
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Celiac Disease And Diabetes
According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, 1 in 100 people have diagnosed celiac disease. Its estimated that approximately six percent of people with type 1 diabetes also have celiac diseasethere may be a genetic link between the two. Both conditions have an inflammatory component, which causes the immune system to attack the bodys tissues or organs, such as the intestines or pancreas.
There have not been any links found between type 2 diabetes and celiac disease.
What Is Gluten And Celiac Disease
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and countless processed foods including pasta, breads, and cereals. Some people avoid gluten because they have celiac disease.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that happens when the bodys immune response to gluten damages the small intestine lining. This can result in abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, diarrhea, and weight loss. Some other symptoms of celiac disease include dermatitis herpetiformis , anemia, loss of bone density, headaches, fatigue, and joint pain.
Other people avoid gluten because of gluten intolerance. Gluten intolerance mimics symptoms of celiac disease without the immune response.
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Other Benefits Of 5 To 10 Percent Weight Loss
- A reduction in insulin resistance, which leads to increased abdominal fat and high cholesterol. Insulin resistance can also cause changes in hormone levels that may lead to infertility in women.
- An improvement in obstructive sleep apnea . OSA is commonly diagnosed in those who are overweight, and it can lead to symptoms like loud snoring and gasping for air during sleep. This can lead to daytime sleepiness, increased hunger, weight gain and diabetes. It can also make high blood pressure more difficult to treat. OSA is treated with a continuous positive airway pressure machine, a specific type of breathing machine that is worn at night. By losing just 5 to 10 percent of body weight, OSA may be improved, and some patients may no longer have to wear the CPAP.
- Reduce chronic inflammation in the body, which improves vascular health. Along with a 100 percent gluten-free diet, losing a little bit of weight can lead to less inflammation in the body. Weight loss of 10 percent reduces the levels of inflammatory substances in the blood in a significant way.
Learn more about the health and medical experts who who provide you with the cutting-edge resources, tools, news, and more on Gluten-Free Living.
Can Make Socializing Difficult
Many social situations revolve around food.
This can make it difficult to socialize if youre following a gluten-free diet. While many restaurants have gluten-free options, theres still a risk of food being contaminated with traces of gluten .
Celiac disease is also associated with a significant social burden, which can make traveling and eating at restaurants more challenging .
That said, you can still socialize while following a gluten-free diet. It simply requires a little extra preparation beforehand.
For example, if youre eating out, call the restaurant beforehand to see if they have gluten-free options. If youre going to a social gathering, you can eat ahead of time or bring your own food.
People who follow a gluten-free diet may be at risk of nutritional deficiencies and prone to constipation. Following a gluten-free diet can also be quite expensive and may make social situations difficult.
These tips can help you follow a gluten-free diet successfully:
If you dont have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, theres no need to follow a gluten-free diet. While it has many health benefits, it also limits some foods that are great for overall health.
Though certain situations may arise that can make it hard to stick to a gluten-free diet, taking steps such as reading food labels and planning ahead can help.
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