Wait Theres No Food For Me
All gluten-free folk have been in this exact situation. Were at a wedding, special event, work conference, etc., and yep, theres plenty of food for everyone else, but no gluten-free food for us . Ug!
This is a total bummer and an all-around uncomfortable situation for everyone.
Not only did the host not consider me, but now the people at my table feel uncomfortable eating in front of me. Plus, Im stuck eating that emergency granola bar I keep in my purse for times like this instead of eating a beautiful, warm meal ho hum.
When I traveled to Israel, I thought I had done everything right to ensure my tour operator would provide gluten-free meals for me. I contacted them ahead of time and spoke with several people to ensure I would be able to eat during my 10-day all-inclusive trip where I knew Id be at the whim of a tour operator.
What I found when I got to my destination was a whole other story. No food for me. I was hungry, frustrated and emotional as a result.
Gluten eaters just dont understand the emotional toll the gluten-free diet takes on us, especially in high-stress, out-of-the-normal type situations. These are times when I cant eat at home nor can I survive on granola bars. The struggle is real.
Probable Improvements In Skills And Health
Yes, it’s true. By simply eliminating gluten and dairy from your child’s diet, you will likely see improvements not only in their health but their ability to develop skills as well.
After implementing the diet, parents report improvements in the following areas:
- Better cognition
- Improvement in receptive language
- Reduction in ear infections and other illnesses
- Pain tolerance normalizing
- Eczema clearing
Gluten And Health Disorders
Gluten sensitivity will appear in very different ways. Most of the cases involve several symptoms like indigestion, headaches, lack of concentration and even overweight. Gluten intolerance is not a pathology that physicians take into account when it comes to making regular diagnoses.
Many people experience gluten sensitivity on a daily basis without being aware.
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Summary: The Pros And Cons Of A Gluten
As with anything else, there are pros and cons to this diet you should also talk to your doctor before you try it. He may find that its completely unnecessary for you, in which case you should find a new health trend to follow. If however you feel that your symptoms are too much to ignore, you want to understand all of the pros and cons to this decision and way of life. Here are just a few to help you in evaluating if this is necessary, how beneficial it can be, how difficult it can be, and if it is truly necessary for you to follow.
Wheat Problems Arent Restricted To People With Celiac Disease
The most famous problem with wheat is celiac disease, an autoimmune reaction provoked by gluten and treatable with a gluten-free diet. 30-40% of people have the genetic background to potentially develop celiac disease, but only about 1-3% of people actually do its not clear why but it may have something to do with the gut microbiome.
Most people know that celiac disease requires absolutely strict avoidance of all gluten. But a lot of people also think that if you dont have celiac disease, youre completely in the clear.
Thats not true. Recently theres been an increased amount of interest in non-celiac gluten sensitivity . Plenty of people have documented sensitivities to gluten that arent actually celiac disease . Theres also the overlapping problem of other proteins in wheat wheat germ agglutinin and amylase trypsin inhibitors are not the same thing as gluten and you can be sensitive to them regardless of how your body handles gluten.
Wheat isnt just a problem for people with celiac disease, and theres more to wheat than gluten.
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Potential Health Benefits Of The Gluten
In addition to celiac, NCGS, gluten ataxia, and wheat allergy, according to the aforementioned Gastroenterology & Hepatology study, a gluten-free diet may play a role in treating:
Eliminating gluten may improve athletic performance in some individuals, too, per the aforementioned study. Yet the diet isnt recommended for every athlete, so dont follow it before getting your doctors approval.
Diarrhea Constipation And Smelly Feces
Individuals with celiac disease experience inflammation in the small intestine after eating gluten.
This damages the gut lining and leads to poor nutrient absorption, resulting in significant digestive discomfort and frequent diarrhea or constipation (
That suggests that gluten exposure on its own may induce feelings of depression, irrespective to digestive symptoms.
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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.
When To Call The Doctor
If you think you may have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, talk with your provider. You should be tested for celiac disease, which is a serious condition.
If you have symptoms of gluten sensitivity or intolerance, do not stop eating gluten without first getting tested for celiac disease. You may have a different health condition that a gluten-free diet cannot treat. Also, following a gluten-free diet for several months or years may make it more difficult to accurately diagnose celiac disease. If you stop eating gluten before being tested, it will affect the results.
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Foods That Contain Gluten
Some foods that can contain gluten include:
- cereal and baking products wheat, wheat flour, wheaten cornflour, freekeh, spelt, semolina, couscous, wheat bran, barley, oats, porridge, breakfast cereals containing wheat, rye, oats or barley, cereals made from corn or rice that also contain malt extract from barley, some icing sugar mixtures and some baking powders
- pasta and noodles spaghetti, pasta, lasagne, gnocchi, hokkien noodles, soba noodles and two-minute noodles
- bread, cakes and biscuits all bread , pizza, cakes, pastry and biscuits prepared with gluten-containing flours
- meat products any products prepared with breadcrumbs or batter, sausages and other processed meats or smallgoods , marinaded meats thickened soups, meat pies and frozen meals
- dairy products malted milk, oat milk, ice cream cones , some ice creams and some soy milks
- fruits and vegetables textured vegetable protein and fruit-pie filling
- condiments malt vinegar, some mustards, relishes, pickles, salad dressings, stock, sauces, gravy and yeast extract from barley
- snacks liquorice, some lollies, some chocolates, packet savoury snacks and some flavoured potato chips and corn chips, muesli bars
- drinks coffee substitutes made from cereal, and some milk-drink powders
- alcoholic drinks beer, stout , ale, and lager .
Risk Of A Nutritional Deficiency
People who have celiac disease are at risk of several nutritional deficiencies.
These include deficiencies in fiber, iron, calcium, vitamin B12, folate, zinc, vitamins A, D, E and K and more (
If you experience constipation on a gluten-free diet, aim to eat more fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, such as broccoli, beans, lentils, Brussels sprouts and berries.
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People Without Allergies Or Intolerances
If your body doesnt react negatively to gluten, Phipps says its simply not necessary to avoid it. Theres no need to swear off any one food to gain better health or promote weight loss when its not medically necessary,” she says.
For optimal health and weight, Phipps says its about finding and maintaining the right balance of food groups, choosing quality foods, and figuring out what works best for your lifestyle.
Who Follows A Gluten
As public health nutrition researchers, we were interested in exploring gluten avoidance in Canada, including determining who avoids gluten and their eating patterns. Using the 2015 Canadian Community Health Survey , we found that 1.9 per cent of Canadians follow a gluten-free diet.
The 2015 Canadian Community Health Survey is the best and most current data we have about nutrition in Canada. However, the northern territories were excluded, as were Indigenous people living on reserves. Very little is known about gluten-related disorders among Indigenous Peoples, and its likely many remain undiagnosed.
We did not find a significant difference between the body mass index , a measure of weight for height, of people who avoid gluten and people who do not. This serves as further evidence against following a gluten-free diet for weight loss.
Comparing dietary gluten avoidance across the provinces, we found that Ontario and Québec had the lowest prevalence at 1.5 per cent. In comparison, the Atlantic provinces had the highest at 2.9 per cent. Even when taking into account other factors, such as ethnicity, income and education, living in Ontario or Québec was associated with lower likelihood of avoiding gluten.
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People Looking To Lose Weight
Dont mistake the hype around the gluten-free diet as proof that its an effective or safe weight loss tool, says Phipps. “There is no scientific evidence that avoiding gluten will lead to weight loss.”
Some people who go on a gluten-free diet will lose weight, but usually thats because theyre cutting out foods like cookies, cake, and pasta foods containing gluten that are also high in calories. Because there are so many processed gluten-free foods packed with fat and sugar, you may even gain weight on a gluten-free diet, according to the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America.
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.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Celiac Disease
Symptoms of celiac disease can be different in each person. Common symptoms are diarrhea or constipation, vomiting and weight loss, malnutrition, anemia , tiredness or fatigue, bone or joint pain, depression, stomach bloating and pain, and short stature in children.
People who suffer from irritable bowel-like stomach problems, headaches, fatigue, numbness, and depression may have gluten sensitivity.
Symptoms Of Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is the most severe form of gluten intolerance.
It is an autoimmune disease that affects about 1% of the population and may lead to damage in the digestive system .
It can cause a wide range of symptoms, including skin problems, gastrointestinal issues, mood changes, and more.
Here are a few of the most common symptoms of celiac disease.
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Nutritional Quality Of A Gluten
Several studies have evaluated the nutritional quality of GFD with direct comparison to GCD. However, there is a great deal of discordance among the results some studies have evaluated the nutritional quality of a GFD in patients with celiac disease, which could be a confounder for nutrient deficiencies due to impaired absorption and chronic inflammation. However, these studies can also yield important information on the nutritional quality and adequacy of a GFD. A 2005 survey by Thompson and colleagues of 47 US adults with celiac disease who were adherent to a GFD showed that the recommended amount of calcium, iron, and fiber was consumed by 31%, 44%, and 46% of women and 63%, 100%, and 88% of men, respectively. Two additional studies by the same lead author have shown that many gluten-free foods are not enriched and may be deficient in several nutrients, including dietary fiber, folate, iron, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamine., Other studies evaluating the nutritional composition of processed gluten-free products have demonstrated higher levels of lipids, trans fat, protein, and salt compared to their gluten-containing counterparts.-
Gluten And Health Benefits
Gluten is most often associated with wheat and wheat-containing foods that are abundant in our food supply. Negative media attention on wheat and gluten has caused some people to doubt its place in a healthful diet. There is little published research to support these claims in fact published research suggests the opposite.
In a 2017 study of over 100,000 participants without celiac disease, researchers found no association between long-term dietary gluten consumption and heart disease risk. In fact, the findings also suggested that non-celiac individuals who avoid gluten may increase their risk of heart disease, due to the potential for reduced consumption of whole grains.
- Many studies have linked whole grain consumption with improved health outcomes. For example, groups with the highest intakes of whole grains including wheat compared with groups eating the lowest amounts were found to have significantly lower rates of heart disease and stroke, development of type 2 diabetes, and deaths from all causes.
Gluten may also act as a prebiotic, feeding the good bacteria in our bodies. Arabinoxylan oligosaccharide is a prebiotic carbohydrate derived from wheat bran that has been shown to stimulate the activity of bifidobacteria in the colon. These bacteria are normally found in a healthy human gut. Changes in their amount or activity have been associated with gastrointestinal diseases including inflammatory bowel disease, colorectal cancer, and irritable bowel syndrome.
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More Processed Foods In Your Diet
Packaged food that is gluten-free is still packaged fooddont assume youre making a healthy choice by eating it. Some gluten-free options on the market are nutritious, says Haas, but many brands making them improve the taste by pumping them with sugar, extra fat, and unhealthy fillers, according to the Gluten-Free Society and the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority.
The Fix: Again, this one is completely up to the choices you make at the checkout aisle. Go for whole-grain options and cook from scratch, and you can avoid this diet drawback.
Double Trouble: Wheat Germ Agglutinin
Another one for the non-Celiac crowd: wheat germ agglutinin is an inflammatory, immune-disrupting protein found in wheat and despite the similar name it isnt the same thing as gluten. Wheat germ agglutinin can provoke an inflammatory response in gut cells and disturb the natural immune barrier in the gut, making the gut more permeable to things that dont belong in your blood.
Again, this is totally separate from the problem of gluten. Obviously, gluten and WGA usually come as a package deal, because theyre both found in wheat, but you can have trouble with WGA even if you had no reaction to a gluten elimination challenge.
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Is This Really A Myth
To call something a myth, it’s important to define the term. My non-scientific definition of a health myth requires most of the following:
- Many people believe it.
- There is no compelling scientific evidence to support it.
- There is at least some scientific evidence against it.
- There is a pseudo-scientific explanation that may have intuitive appeal .
- The idea defies standard understanding of biology or has no reasonable biologic explanation. An example is a diet that is said to help you lose weight despite increasing your caloric intake and reducing exercise.
Three other features of many popular health myths include:
- The possibility that it can actually harm you
- A profit motive
- Celebrity endorsement
From this definition, the notion that a gluten-free diet will improve health is a certifiable health myth for most people.
People With Gluten Sensitivity
Another condition that may prompt someone to cut gluten from their diets is a non-celiac gluten sensitivity, sometimes called gluten intolerance. We dont have a clear definition for gluten intolerance or a clear way to explain it, says Rajagopal. We know that some people eat something that contains gluten and then they dont feel well.
Its important not to assume that gastrointestinal irritation is the result of gluten. If you think you may have a gluten intolerance, Rajagopal recommends working with a physician and a registered dietitian to get to the bottom of your symptoms.
There isnt a test for gluten intolerance, so we might try a process of elimination such as the low FODMAP diet, says Rajagopal. This is a temporary eating plan that eliminates lots of foods that can irritate the gut, including wheat-based products. If gluten is the source of the irritation, you may notice an improvement in symptoms such as:
- Stomach pain
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You Only Think Its Gluten Free
I was at an event where I requested a gluten-free meal three times ahead of the date, and yet the plate of food placed in front of me came with this caveat, I think its gluten-free. I did my best.
Wait, you only think its gluten-free? You mean you dont know for sure?
Come on, people. I need a little more assurance than that. I dont put food in front of my guests and say, I think its edible, or I dont remember if I put arsenic in it, eat up! Please dont just think its gluten free, know it is. Thank you.
Also, while Im on the topic, its always nice when my food is wrapped or contains a toothpick that says, gluten free or allergy. This way I have some peace of mind knowing that this is the gluten-free meal or dish I ordered. Its easy to confuse meals in a busy kitchen.