Gluten Free: What's in it for Me?

Gluten Free: What's in it for Me?
Posted on August 27, 2015: Health & Nutrition

Is it time for you to say good-bye to gluten?

Some people choose to go on a gluten-free diet in hopes of reducing stomach pains and bloating. Some people hope avoiding gluten will help their minds become sharper or their waists become smaller. Some people give up gluten because they have no choice.

Celiac disease is caused by an abnormal immune system response to gluten. Although the human body usually breaks most proteins down into amino acids, the best it can do with gluten is break it down into a chain of acids called peptides. If you suffer from celiac disease, your immune system considers these peptides invasive microbes and goes to war. During the battle, villi, finger-like fronds within your small intestine, are flattened. This isn’t good for the villi and it certainly isn’t good for you.

Those villi are there to absorb nutrients. As they lose surface area, you lose the ability to absorb vital nutrients. In addition to severe abdominal discomfort, long-term effects of untreated celiac disease include stunted growth, anemia, bone pain, severe skin rashes and the possibility of developing intestinal lymphoma.

There is currently no cure for celiac disease but there is one simple treatment; you must avoid consuming products containing gluten for the rest of your life.

While only about 1% of the people in the developed world are afflicted with celiac disease, a number of people who do not have celiac disease also have trouble digesting foods that contain gluten. Many medical professionals call this condition Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity or NCGS for short.

The Difficulty of NCGS

People dealing with NCGS may have to cope with a number of symptoms after consuming gluten. These symptoms can include abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, headaches, fatigue and inability to concentrate. At the present time, there are no clinical tests to help physicians diagnose Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity. If your physician suspects your symptoms are diet related, she or he may recommend a gluten-free diet for a period of time to see if the symptoms abate. If your conditions improve while avoiding gluten, you may be told to re-introduce gluten containing foods back in to your eating plan to see if the symptoms return. If the symptoms come back upon reintroducing gluten to your diet, you may be diagnosed with NCGS and required to say good-bye to gluten forever.

As with all medical conditions, it is best to consult with your physician if you are experiencing digestive problems associated with gluten sensitivity. The same symptoms people with NCGS experience when they consume gluten may also be signs of one or more serious medical conditions unrelated to gluten. Early treatment can be an important factor in maintaining or regaining good health.


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'Accessorize' Your Gluten-Free Diet

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Say hello to new ways to enhance your gluten-free diet with dietDirect's specialty Gluten Free collection.

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