Lack Of Essential Vitamins And Nutrients
While there are definitely unhealthy foods that contain gluten, there are also healthy foods that give your body the nutrients it needs to function properly. Similar to the effects of lack of fiber, going gluten free without a legitimate cause can result in vitamin and nutrient deficiencies. In the US, many grains are fortified or enriched to contain large, added amounts of nutrients. Foods with gluten in them can be a great source of:
- Vitamin B:
People with celiac disease are often tested for nutritional deficiencies when first diagnosed, as many are deficient in key vitamins and minerals due to decreased absorption in the gut. Many take a gluten free multivitamin or individual vitamins to try and make up for this deficit. These people also need to be very diligent about finding alternative ways to get the much-needed vitamins and nutrients, like searching for fortified gluten-free alternatives.Switching to a gluten free diet by choice means that dieters also need to be mindful of what they eat. This makes it more difficult to maintain a balanced diet, which may lead to completely unnecessary added stress in the grocery store aisles for not much benefit. In addition, research has shown that people on a gluten-free diet have increased levels of heavy metals in their blood and urine – possibly due to the increased consumption of rice in gluten-free foods.
Boost Creativity In The Kitchen
Do you feel like you’ve been in a bit of a rut when it comes to recipes? Beginning a gluten free lifestyle will quickly change that! Going gluten free doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite foods. However, it does mean that you’ll have to make some swaps here and there. By searching for and trying out new gluten free recipes, you can improve your health and cooking skills at the same time. Get creative in the kitchen, test out a recipe you’ve never tried before, or search for a gluten free version of your favorite comfort food.
When it comes to comfort food, this gluten free Gluten Free Chicken Pot Pie recipe is one of our favorites.
How Do I Choose Gluten
Choosing gluten-free foods requires an understanding of product labels. You also need to become ingredient aware.
Your state Coeliac Australia association can help you learn these skills and provide resources to help you follow a gluten-free diet.
You will need to pay a fee to join Coeliac Australia and be medically diagnosed with:
- coeliac disease
- dermatitis herpetiformis
- other medical conditions requiring a gluten free diet
An Accredited Practising Dietitian can also teach you how to choose gluten-free foods and products.
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Stick To Homemade Broth
When it comes to going gluten free, it’s important to read food labels. Canned soup is one of many foods that you may not think to check when choosing to eliminate gluten from your diet. Premade soup mixtures often contain a high amount of sodium and gluten in the seasonings and flavor. Making homemade broth at home will ensure that your soup is made with healthy, wholesome ingredients completely free of gluten! Make soup for your next meal, or create a big batch and freeze to enjoy throughout the week.
Which Health Issues Can A Gluten
Medically speaking, not all gluten-related issues are created equal. There can be confusion around two common gluten-related conditions in particular: celiac disease and nonceliac gluten sensitivity.
Lets take a look at the differences between the two, and how the gluten-free diet may benefit both, along with some other medical conditions.
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Avoid Sauces Containing Gluten
Lots of pasta sauces, gravies, stocks and condiments contain wheat flour, and therefore gluten, so ensure you read the label and exclude anything that isnt suitable. Instead, try making your own pasta sauces and gravies using cornflour, arrowroot or potato starch to thicken them for a gluten-free option.
What About Eating Out
- Consult the Coeliac Australia restaurant finder.
- Have realistic expectations. Not everything on the menu will be gluten-free.
- Research ahead of time if you know where you are going to be eating out. For example, check if their menu is online, and if they dont have gluten-free options listed then give them a call to discuss your needs.
- If you havent called ahead of time, tell the waiter that you require gluten-free food as soon as you arrive and ask if they can cater for you. If they cant, you may need to find another restaurant.
- Be prepared to pay more because providing gluten-free foods for their customers often costs restaurants more.
- If it doesnt seem right, dont assume its gluten free. For example, if bread is served as an accompaniment to soup then check that the bread is also gluten-free.
- Exercise common sense and patience.
Unexpected sources of gluten when youre eating out can be stocks and sauces, soy milk, icing sugar or dusting chocolate, salad dressings, chicken salt, dusting or coating flour and oil used for other purposes such as frying foods with a batter that contains wheat flour.
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Getting Started On The Gluten
A document on gluten-free eating was created in partnership with Dietitians of Canadas PEN to provide information on what is the gluten-free diet and how to get started. It provides information on cross-contamination and how to read labels. It also includes a comprehensive list of foods and ingredients to avoid and a list of those that are safe.
Proteins That Need A Second Look:
- Processed meats: Including hot dogs, pepperoni, sausage, etc. These may have gluten added, so be sure to check the ingredient list and avoid those with wheat gluten, wheat starch or wheat dextrin.
- Cold cuts: It’s rare, but cold cuts may have gluten-containing ingredients added cross-contamination can also happen at the deli on the meat slicer.
- Ground meat: Ground beef or ground turkey can have gluten added in as filler. Be sure to check the ingredients carefully.
- Veggie burgers and other meat substitutes: Some flavors and brands are made with ingredients that contain glutenâcheck the labels.
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Food Labelling And Gluten
All packaged foods have ingredient labels printed on the box, package or bottle. There are three methods of finding suitable foods by reading the labelling. These include looking for:
- foods carrying the Coeliac Australia Endorsement logo
- foods labelled gluten free’
- foods made for the general market that do not contain ingredients derived from gluten-containing grains.
Under mandatory labelling standards, all ingredients and food additives derived from wheat, rye, barley, or oats must be declared in the ingredient list of foods sold in Australia. The use of an allergen summary statement is also now mandatory gluten must be declared as Contains gluten, if present.
There is an Australian Food Standard for processed foods labelled gluten free. When foods labelled gluten free are tested there must be no detectable gluten.
Gluten Free Diet Benefits
Embarking on a gluten-free diet has its own risks and benefits. We will be surveying gluten-free diet benefits in this section. Besides the fact that consuming gluten is harmful to people with gluten sensitivity and other health conditions, studies confirm that a gluten-free diet benefits people with irritable bowel syndrome as well. However, one doesnt need to suffer from any of these health issues to benefit from a gluten-free diet.
A gluten-free diet benefits all. How? Here are a couple of ways in which a gluten-free diet benefits people without gluten intolerance
- It encourages people on a diet, to increase their intake of fruits and vegetables, as all fruits and vegetables are gluten-free.
- It eliminates processed unhealthy food products from your diet. You eat less junk food on this diet.
- You are also less prone to germ and viral diseases as you consume more minerals, vitamins and antioxidants on this diet.
- According to the Gluten Intolerance Group, a gluten-free diet also reduces the chances of heart diseases, cancer and diabetes
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Coexisting Diabetes And Celiac Disease: Special Challenges
For patients with concurrent diabetes and celiac disease, the gluten-free diet must be carefully planned to meet nutritional needs while controlling blood glucose. This is best accomplished through consultation with a registered dietitian nutritionist who is experienced in treating celiac disease and diabetes. The carbohydrate and fat content of gluten-free foods often is higher than in gluten-containing foods . In addition, the fiber content is typically lower, particularly if individuals eat the majority of grain servings in the form of rice-based, refined, and processed foods. Early studies in this area found that gluten-free foods may have a higher glycemic index than comparable gluten-containing foods, but more recent research does not support this conclusion . It is important for patients to read the labels of gluten-free foods for carbohydrate content and because serving sizes may differ from those of similar gluten-containing foods.
It Is A Healthy Diet For Anyone
A gluten-free diet is not just for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. It is a healthy diet for anyone who wants to improve their overall health. A gluten-free diet can help you lose weight, increase energy levels, and boost your immune system.
Now that you know some of the benefits of a gluten-free diet, you may be wondering if it is right for you. If you are considering going gluten-free, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian. They can help you determine if a gluten-free diet is right for you and give you tips on how to make the switch.
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Promotes Healthy Weight Gain
The symptoms of celiac disease and gluten intolerance include diarrhea, bloating, gas and fatigue which can seem rather vague and so the condition can go undiagnosed for decades. This results in nutritional deficiencies and in many cases, severe and uncontrolled weight loss. A gluten-free diet will help you regain lost weight as well as eliminate these nutritional deficiencies.
Maintaining A Balanced Diet While Eating Gluten
In order to maximize the health and nutritional benefits of going gluten-free, you should adopt a diet filled with a variety of naturally gluten-free foods such as fruits, vegetables and lean proteins, as well as gluten-free grains. U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommendations encourage everyone, including those on a gluten-free diet, to avoid overly processed foods, and keep refined sugar and saturated fat intakes to a minimum.
As with any balanced diet, portion control and moderation are extremely important for people living with celiac disease and eating gluten-free. Daily exercise is also necessary for managing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
A gluten-free diet is by no means a cure all. It can be common for some people to struggle with celiac disease symptoms even after going on a gluten-free diet. Keep in mind that it does take time for the body to heal. If you are still having symptoms over time, it is important to talk to your doctor about them. Your doctor and a registered dietitian knowledgeable of celiac disease can help you to determine if you are accidentally eating gluten or if something else may be the cause of your symptoms.
Most importantly, a gluten-free diet cannot replace a formal consultation, diagnosis or recommendation from a physician or trained healthcare professional.
Dietitians knowledgeable in celiac disease and the gluten-free diet play a critical role in the management of this autoimmune condition.
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Who Should Avoid Gluten
As mentioned, people with celiac disease avoid sickness and maintain much better health if they follow a gluten-free diet. For them, a gluten-free diet is nothing short of essential.
And then there are people described as gluten-sensitive. Their tests for celiac disease are negative , yet whenever they eat food containing gluten, they experience symptoms like bloating, diarrhea, or crampy abdominal pain. One cause is wheat allergy, a disorder that can be diagnosed by skin testing. But for many others, the diagnosis remains uncertain. Some have begun calling this non-celiac gluten hypersensitivity, a poorly defined condition about which we have much to learn.
Avoiding gluten makes sense for people with celiac disease, wheat allergy, or those who feel unwell whenever they consume gluten.
An Overview Of The Gluten
Robert Burakoff, MD, MPH, is board-certified in gastroentrology. He is the vice chair for ambulatory services for the department of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, where he is also a professor. He was the founding editor and co-editor in chief of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.
After getting a celiac disease diagnosis, you will be thrust into learning all you can about following gluten-free diet. Glutenthe main protein in kernels of wheat, rye, and barley grainsis what triggers the immune system to attack the lining of the small intestine in people with this condition.
Gluten is in many foods, including those you might not expect, so it can be hard to avoid in order to manage symptoms. It can also find its way into some foods that should be considered safe.
You’ll need to know more about food labeling and ingredient names to succeed at the gluten-free diet, and this article can get you started. Read on to learn more about choosing foods, what can happen if you eat gluten when you have celiac disease, and how to set yourself up for gluten-free diet success.
Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin
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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.
Is Gluten Sensitivity Real
Many countries recognize that nonceliac gluten sensitivity is a problem. However, this is a new area of study, and researchers do not yet understand the condition, its risk factors, or how common it is.
Some have suggested that, rather than reacting to gluten in foods, people are sensitive to fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols , which are other non-gluten proteins found in wheat.
FODMAPs are present in gluten-containing grains. This could explain why people with IBS show improvement in symptoms when on a gluten-free diet.
While there are many documented cases of possible nonceliac gluten sensitivity, more research is needed before scientists understand the causes, symptoms, and effects of gluten sensitivities.
There is little scientific evidence that a gluten-free diet has health benefits for anyone without celiac disease or a nonceliac gluten sensitivity.
Despite this, a report from the states that around 2.7 million people without celiac disease were following a gluten-free diet between 2009 and 2014.
The authors of this report suggest the following reasons for the wider population adopting a gluten-free diet:
While doctors can diagnose celiac disease using blood tests, breath tests, and biopsies, there are no specific diagnostic tests for gluten sensitivity. Many people may have a gluten intolerance without knowing it.
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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.
Who Really Has A Food Allergy
Although many people are self-diagnosing coeliac disease, a wheat allergy or gluten intolerance, experts think milder cases of coeliac disease often go undiagnosed.
If you’re experiencing symptoms, it’s important to rule out coeliac disease by being tested, especially if you have a family history of it.
According to the NHS, continuing to eat gluten can lead to serious complications for those with the disease, including osteoporosis, iron-deficiency anaemia, and vitamin B12- and folate-deficiency anaemia.
Less common and more serious complications include some types of cancers. Coeliac UK research finds the average time it takes to be diagnosed is 13 years.
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Diagnosis: Not Putting The Cart Before The Horse
Serology studies are the first step in determining diagnosis, specifically the serum immunoglobulin A anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies. Patients should also be screened for total IgA because this affects the reliability of the TTG test . These are accurate and inexpensive tests however, it is very important to note that patients must be on a gluten-containing diet at the time of testing to avoid false negative results. This has become more of a problem in clinical practice because patients may present to their health care provider after several months or even years on the gluten-free diet. This can lead to a diagnostic conundrum for the provider and patient. To obtain accurate antibody results, patients must complete a gluten challenge, in which they consume a specified amount of gluten-containing foods for several weeks . For patients who have obtained symptom relief with the gluten-free diet, returning to a gluten-containing diet may be undesirable. This can leave such patients without a clear diagnosis.