Ditch The Gluten Improve Your Health
This just in: A new health myth has been taking the country by storm.
Perhaps I’m exaggerating a bit. After all, health fads especially diet fads have come and gone for decades. Some are more worthy than others. For example, I am impressed by the evidence supporting the Mediterranean diet as a healthy option. As each one of us is different, the “ideal diet” may not be the same for each person. But the interest and enthusiasm surrounding the gluten-free food movement in recent years has been remarkable. Not so long ago, relatively few people had ever heard of gluten. And it certainly wasn’t the “food movement” it has recently become.
If you’re considering limiting your consumption of gluten, you’re certainly not alone. But the question is: Will restricting the gluten you eat improve your health? And will it make you feel better? It’s appealing to think so.
If You Make A Mistake
Following a gluten free diet is a learning process, not only for you but also for your family and friends. Mistakes can happen, especially if you have only recently been diagnosed.
If you have coeliac disease and eat gluten by mistake, you would usually start to have symptoms a few hours after eating it and the symptoms can last from a few hours to several days. The effects vary from person to person and depend on how much gluten youve eaten, how sensitive you are and how long you have been on a gluten free diet.
If you make the occasional mistake and eat gluten by accident, its unlikely to cause lasting gut damage. It’s a learning process and we can support you and help you because we understand what you are going through. Our helpline is staffed with dietitians and food experts who are here to help you with advice and support. Call us on 0333 332 2033.
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.
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Gluten Free Diet And Travel
Travelling and following a gluten-free diet can present some extra challenges, but nothing a little planning ahead cant fix.
If you are booking flights, be aware that most airlines will offer gluten free meal options. Call the airline, or check if the online booking page permits you to enter dietary requirements. It may be worth following this up a few days before you travel, just to make sure the information got through. Cruise lines are also likely to be able to accommodate gluten-free meal requests.
Always pack some gluten-free snacks in your hand luggage, just in case. Rice crackers, nuts, dried fruit and crisps are some transportable, non-perishable options.
When booking accommodation, consider short stay apartments with a kitchen, or at least a hotel room with a microwave and refrigerator. Then, if you cant find gluten-free eating-out options at your destination, you can at least purchase foods that are naturally gluten free and self-cater.
If you are staying somewhere such as a B& B, you could also consider taking toaster bags with you and buying a loaf of gluten free bread at your destination, if possible. Gluten free cereal is available at supermarkets and speciality stores in some places. Or, you could opt to eat naturally gluten free breakfast options such as yoghurt, fresh fruit and eggs. Talk to your host about the possibilities they may have catered for people with coeliac disease before.
Who Misses The Breading
You don’t need to hide the succulent charms of fresh chicken, fish, and beef under a bunch of bread. Go for lean meat without any additives and you’ll be eating right for a gluten-free diet. Do keep in mind that hot dogs and deli meats are processed, so check the ingredients for additives that might contain gluten.
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How To Follow A Gluten
For those who are new to this diet, it is important to follow medical advice and plan their special diet with the help of a nutritional expert. While this diet excludes some grains, it is important to ensure that your special diet provides you with all the essential nutrients.
Once you have the list of foods to be included and those to be avoided, plan to make gradual changes. The thought of not being able to have many foods can be annoying but being reasonable and slowly modifying the diet can help. You need to stay focused on your mission and believe that you can do it. Have regular follow-ups with your nutritional expert to discuss your progress, preferences and possible modifications.
You can make your diet more interesting by removing the regular ingredients like wheat from your favorite recipes and replacing them with those that do not contain gluten and are allowed in your diet. For example, wheat and its gluten are used to make cakes, but you can try using gum, psyllium husks or gelatin instead. Try making your own multigrain flour for your cooking. Instead of wheat, you can mix rice flour, corn flour and potato starch, all of which are free of gluten.
Whats Wrong With Gluten
In people with celiac disease, gluten in the bloodstream triggers an immune response that damages the lining of the small intestine. This can interfere with the absorption of nutrients from food, cause a host of symptoms, and lead to other problems like osteoporosis, infertility, nerve damage, and seizures.
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Do I Need To Avoid Oats
Its best to check with your health care provider to see if you can eat traditional oats or if you need to look for certified gluten-free oats. To find out if your favorite brand of oatmeal is gluten-free, check the package each time you purchase them. You can also call the company or check the brands website. Some brands, such as Bobs Redmill, Glutenfreeda, and GF Harvest make oatmeal that is certified gluten-free. When eating out or when in doubt, avoid oats and oat-containing cereals and breads since oats may be cross-contaminated with wheat.
Keep An Eye On Cross Contamination
Like we stated earlier, even trace amounts of gluten can be dangerous for someone with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. When purchasing gluten free foods, it’s essential to keep a close eye on cross-contamination. Cross-contamination occurs when a gluten free product comes in contact with products that contain gluten. Because many gluten free products are processed in the same facility that gluten-filled ones are, cross-contamination can quickly occur and cause problems for individuals with gluten intolerance. Outside of the factories, cross-contamination can also happen in your home. Using the toaster, double-dipping in condiment jars, and slicing foods on the same surfaces can quickly cause symptoms to spring in those with a gluten allergy.
To ensure that you’re eating as gluten free as possible, make sure your kitchen surfaces are clean and that the gluten free companies you’re buying from processes those foods in a separate factory.
While gluten isn’t an unhealthy ingredient, it can be dangerous for those who have a gluten intolerance. As we discussed, even the smallest amount of gluten can cause symptoms in individuals with celiac disease. Use this article as a guide of which foods to avoid with gluten. While gluten is found in many ingredients and dishes, several delicious gluten free substitutes can be used to make sure you’re not missing out on your favorites. From everyone at Bob’s Red Mill, happy baking!
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What Is A Gluten
Before tackling the gluten-free diet, let’s get to know our culprit. Gluten is a specific type of protein, but one you won’t find in meat or eggs. Instead gluten is found primarily in wheat, rye, and barley. Going gluten-free means avoiding these grains. A gluten-free diet is essential for most people with gluten allergies or celiac disease, a condition which causes intestinal damage when gluten is eaten.
Risks And Who Should Avoid A Gluten
Theres no shortage of claims about the gluten-free diet, but sometimes not eating gluten for a nonmedical reason can have unintended consequences. Going on a gluten-free diet when you dont need to can actually cause more harm than good, says Begun.
One unwelcome side effect of a gluten-free diet is an increased risk for nutrient deficiencies, including vitamin D, vitamin B12, and folate, according to a review published in December 2016 in Clinical Nutrition. The authors also noted that fiber, iron, magnesium, zinc, and calcium are possible deficiencies that may result from unnecessarily eliminating gluten from your diet.
According to the aforementioned Gastroenterology & Hepatology paper, excess fat in the blood and coronary artery disease are additional risks of the gluten-free diet. And, while not a health risk, gluten-free products can be expensive.
Phipps adds that your body can have trouble readjusting if you swear off gluten and suddenly reintroduce it back into your diet.
If youve gone gluten-free and fit into one of the following categories, you may want to consider welcoming the protein back into your diet.
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Who Avoids Gluten And Why
Gluten is dangerous for those diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder and can be life-threatening.
In coeliacs, upon the ingestion of gluten, the immune system attacks the small intestine. Therefore, individuals with celiac disease must maintain a life-long strict gluten-free diet.
Meanwhile, gluten intolerance is a term used to categorize individuals that manifest celiac disease symptoms without the immune systems response. It is less severe than Celiac disease.
However, the symptoms can be troubling for some. Therefore, gluten-intolerant individuals maintain a gluten-free diet to manage their symptoms.
Why Do People Avoid Gluten
People follow a gluten-free diet for a number of reasons: Celiac disease. People with this condition cannot eat gluten because it triggers an immune response that damages the lining of their GI tract. This response causes inflammation in the small intestine and makes it hard for the body to absorb nutrients in food.
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What Can I Eat On A Gluten Free Diet
Start with red, ripe strawberries, crunchy carrots and a juicy steak. Luckily, these examples are all safe for people with gluten issues.
- Whole Grains
- Unprocessed Foods
Fresh fruits and vegetables are a healthy choice for everyone. These options provide your body with essential vitamins and minerals. For folks looking to omit gluten, these are worry-free foods. For celiac patients seeking to increase their intake of fruits and vegetables, it helps to replace the nutrients their bodies could not hold.
Meat is another safe option if you purchase ones without added sauces. When you bring it home, add flavor with gluten-free ingredients you know are safe. Seasoned steak with potatoes and salad exemplifies a mighty meal you can still enjoy while staying symptom-free.
There are many gluten-free options with whole grains amaranth, arrowroot, buckwheat, cornmeal, flax, and teff. Dont despair if these suggestions are initially unfamiliar to you. Rice and quinoa are also safe. For baking, there are loads of options, including flours made from rice, corn and potatoes. Some can substitute for white or wheat flour in your favorite cookie, cake or brownie recipes.
The last bullet point refers to products without additional additives or fillers. While canning, freezing and packaging is processing, we are looking for foods with short ingredient lists. A can of green beans or a bag of frozen broccoli are both tasty options.
Most Breads Crackers And Wraps
Most breads, crackers, and wraps contain gluten. The only way to know for sure is to read the ingredient list and check to see which grains are used.
If you have a gluten intolerance, avoid the following:
- white bread
- malt vinegar
As an alternative, you can make your own condiments from gluten-free ingredients or purchase ones that are certified gluten-free.
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Gluten And Celiac Disease
Patients who cannot tolerate gluten deal with many symptoms. Many are GI in nature, including flatulence, diarrhea, constipation and stomach pain. Other symptoms may be harder to connect, like skin rashes or depression. Fatigue and weight loss are also common.
While weight loss may sound enticing, it may be a dangerous sign. It may show you are not getting enough nutrients from your food.
Celiac disease is more than an allergy your body cannot process the ingredient and trying to do so causes damage to your small intestine. These patients suffer from a lack of nutrients, as the small intestine cannot absorb these from foods.
While you have several body parts associated with digestion, the small intestine is a vital player. Tiny hairs, or villi, absorb the crucial nutrients from our foods. Those hairs become damaged or are no longer doing their jobs when you have celiac disease.
Celiac disease is in the autoimmune category. The immune system tries to fight the gluten, causing internal injury. If untreated, additional harm can happen to your body and lead to other severe conditions. Roughly 1 percent of the American population has celiac disease, which denotes 3 million people.
One very significant difference is the testing for celiac disease. The first step is blood work. If your doctor sees celiac disease indications, he refers you for an additional procedure, called an endoscopy.
Spices Sauces And Condiments
Spices, sauces, and condiments often contain gluten but are commonly overlooked.
Although most spices, sauces, and condiments are naturally gluten-free, gluten-containing ingredients are sometimes added to them as emulsifiers, stabilizers, or flavor enhancers.
Some common gluten-containing ingredients added to spices, sauces, and condiments include modified food starch, maltodextrin, malt, and wheat flour.
Gluten-Free Spices, Sauces, and Condiments
Spices, Sauces, and Condiments to Double-Check
- ketchup and mustard
Spices, Sauces, and Condiments to Avoid
- wheat-based soy sauce and teriyaki sauce
- malt vinegar
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