Is Gluten-Free a Fad?
Going gluten-free is so common these days that you may wonder if it’s just a fad. Sometimes it seems like everyone is talking about Gluten. Moms on the playground, co-workers at the water cooler, relatives at family gatherings, it even makes the nightly news every now and then. So, what is gluten? Should you cut it out of your diet?
“Gluten” is a general name for proteins that are found in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale, a wheat-rye hybrid that acts as a kind of glue, and helps foods hold together.
Gluten isn’t necessarily bad. It’s just that some people’s systems can’t process this type of protein. These people are gluten intolerant and get an irregular immune response from eating it. The most commonly talked about kind of gluten intolerance is Celiac disease. In fact, one in every 141 Americans has it!
Reasons for Going Gluten-Free
For some people, cutting gluten out of your diet can be a very good idea. If you can’t process this protein, ingesting it can make you feel tired, bloated, anxious, have abdominal pain, heartburn, and other digestive issues.
If you have these symptoms you should contact a doctor to explore whether you have:
- Celiac disease
- Wheat allergy
- Non-Celiac gluten sensitivity
The most serious of these health issues is Celiac disease. An autoimmune disorder, anyone with Celiac disease has to completely avoid products with gluten. Learn more about Celiac Disease symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, eight types of food account for 90 percent of food allergies. Wheat is one of those foods and is most common in children, 65 percent of whom outgrow it by the time they are 12 years old. If you have a wheat allergy, you may still be able to eat barley and rye.
Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity
Common symptoms of gluten may affect you less severely. It is estimated that as many as 6% of Americans suffer from non-celiac gluten sensitivity and choose to avoid gluten completely or limit their intake to small amounts.
If your symptoms make you suspect a gluten intolerance, follow these steps to discover the cause and best form of treatment:
- Talk to your doctor. Have a complete check-up. Discuss any symptoms you may have. Your doctor will take a complete history and order a variety of blood work to help diagnose the cause of your symptoms.
- See an allergist. If your doctor can’t make a diagnosis based on your symptoms, an allergist can tell you if you have a wheat allergy or another kind of food intolerance.
- Work with a dietician. If you find out you have a wheat allergy or celiac disease, a dietitian can help you structure your new gluten-free diet to make sure you get all the nutrients you need.
These steps will help you find out if you have a disease or an allergy-related to gluten. However, some people find skipping gluten makes them feel better, even though they don’t have an underlying allergy or medical condition. Oprah Winfrey and Gwyneth Paltrow are well-known advocates of going g-free, just for the way it makes them feel.
Gluten-Free Food Options
If your doctor recommends that you go gluten-free, they will give you a list of foods to avoid. Cutting it out though can be a challenge. Since it’s so useful in helping foods stay together, gluten is everywhere! You’ll find it in common foods such as bread, pasta, and cereals. Plus, you’ll see it in places that don’t seem so obvious, like soups, sauces, salad dressings, and food coloring. If you want to live gluten-free, then, you need to read the labels on everything.
The good news is food labels are getting better, so it’s easier to figure out which foods are gluten-free. Plus, there are more and more gluten-free foods available every day, including quite a few tasty options from Creative Snacks including:
Add feed of gluten-free snacks with links or a link to a all gluten-free products.