A gluten-free diet is a diet that eliminates all foods that contain gluten protein. This diet is used to treat gluten disorders like celiac disease. At first, a gluten-free diet can be difficult because many popular foods have gluten in it. However, with some patience and guidance from your doctor, a gluten-free diet can be just as enjoyable and fulfilling as a normal diet.
What is Gluten?
According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, gluten can be defined as the generic term for specific types of proteins found in grains like barley, rye and wheat.
Gluten sensitivity, also called gluten intolerance, refers to a range of disorders caused by an adverse reaction to gluten. The most serious of these disorders is known as celiac disease. This is a lifelong ailment where the immune system has a counter-reaction to the gluten, which causes damage to the small intestine. According to WebMD.com, 1 out of every 133 Americans has this disease.
Due to the lack of nutrients being absorbed through the digestive system, celiac disease may also lead to other complications like weight loss, anaemia, fatigue and osteoporosis.
Celiac disease and wheat allergies can cause the following common symptoms: bloating, diarrhoea, stomach aches and joint pain. Unfortunately, since these symptoms are associated with many ailments, diagnosis of gluten intolerance can go undiagnosed for a while. It’s important to pay attention to the foods you eat and when these symptoms occurred.
The major difference between celiac disease and a less severe gluten disorder like wheat allergies is that celiac disease causes intestinal damage where these other disorders do not.
Foods Not Allowed
In a gluten-free diet, foods that contain barley, rye, triticale and wheat are not allowed. Common foods that contain these ingredients are pasta, pretzels, muffins, bagels, cakes, stuffing, pizza, cheesecake, dumplings, and many breakfast bowls of cereal. In addition to these popular gluten food items, there are many food items containing gluten that is often overlooked. The most commonly overlooked items are energy bars, nutritional supplements, vitamins, macaroni and cheese, flour products, croutons, and soy sauce It’s important that you check out the ingredients for each food item before consuming them. Fortunately, many companies and restaurants have shifted their focus to specifically include gluten-free foods.
Despite the long list of popular foods that contain gluten, there are still many great-tasting and healthy foods that you can eat. In fact the following items are not only delicious and healthy, but they are also naturally gluten-free: beans, nuts, eggs, meat, fish, poultry, fruit, vegetables, and many dairy products Make sure that these “allowed foods” are not processed, breaded, coated with batter or mixed together with products that contain gluten.
A Few Easy Rules To Follow
There are a few easy rules to follow if you are on a gluten-free diet. These rules are to ensure that you don’t have any gluten reactions.
- If you do not know what’s in the food, then don’t eat it. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
- The risk of a gluten reaction far outweighs the minute reward of a tasty gluten product.
- Wheat-free items are not the same as Gluten-free items. These “wheat-free” items may still contain barley or rye.
- Make sure you do not prepare gluten-free foods with foods containing gluten. You may still experience a gluten reaction.