Gluten-free Diet

What is a gluten-free diet?

Eating gluten-free is a lot more common than you'd think. A gluten-free diet doesn't contain gluten, including grains such as triticale (a cross between wheat and rye), wheat, barley, and rye. Aside from baked goods such as bread and pizza, soy sauce, ice cream, and some medications have it. It is also in beauty products and dietary supplements.

Who should eat a gluten-free diet?

Some people may have a gluten-free diet due to lifestyle changes or major health concerns. Undigested gluten in the digestive tract can lead to life-threatening allergic reactions. A gluten-free diet is essential in managing gluten-related disorders and other autoimmune diseases.

People with celiac disease

Conditions that can lead to having a gluten-free lifestyle are autoimmune diseases such as celiac disease. Celiac disease patients should stick to a gluten-free diet. That's because of an automatic response to gluten that causes their immune system to attack the small intestine. Common symptoms after eating gluten include nausea, bloating, or diarrhea. But some people can have undiagnosed celiac disease because they don't experience allergy symptoms.

People with autoimmune disorders

Gluten ataxia is an autoimmune disease. It affects nerve tissues and causes problems in muscle control and voluntary muscle movement. You may choose to have a gluten-free lifestyle to offset digestive symptoms if you have the following:

  • Autoimmune thyroid disease
  • Autoimmune thyroid disorders, and
  • Autoimmune liver diseases

People with wheat allergy

People with wheat allergies also need to follow a gluten-free diet to avoid setting off immune responses to wheat. Many symptoms from eating wheat are skin rash, headaches, or sneezing. But they can consume gluten from food containing barley or rye.

People with gluten intolerance

People with gluten intolerance need a similar diet because of adverse reactions to eating food with gluten. In these cases, it is often self-reported gluten sensitivity. That's because there isn't a test that can help determine whether you have a gluten allergy.

Medical professionals would guide you through an elimination process. An example is the FODMAP diet, which determines whether you have gluten intolerance.

Symptoms of gluten intolerance include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Gas
  • Stomach pain
  • Constipation, and
  • Muscle pain

Consult a physician or dietician if you are experiencing significant digestive discomfort. Medical professionals can diagnose food allergies and autoimmune disorders like celiac disease.

Risk factors of a Gluten-free Diet

By following a gluten-free diet, your nutrition intake is likely to change. Food containing wheat, barley, and rye, like whole grain bread, have essential nutrients such as:

  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Fiber
  • Thiamin
  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Folate

Some gluten-free food has higher sugar and fat content. They may also have varied nutrient labels for the products they are replacing. If you are gluten intolerant or have autoimmune diseases, read the labels of the products you buy. Ensure you get the nutrients you need to avoid conditions such as iron deficiency anemia.

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