What people refer to as a gluten-free diet is one that does not contain the protein called gluten. Gluten is a protein mostly found in wheat, grains, barley and rye. It is also found in candies, crackers, cereals, pasta, cakes and even commercial soup. Gluten is what gives the dough the elastic consistency that we all know. Even your regular ketchup contains that protein.
Having gluten in a meal might not be a problem. The only thing is people suffering from the celiac disease tend to have their intestines inflamed when taking the protein into their digestive system. For that reason, the only way to avoid the inflammation is to avoid gluten altogether. The idea of thegluten-free diet is to help people with celiac disease better deal with their intestinal problems by controlling symptoms and preventing complications.
It may not be that easy for a person to follow a gluten-free diet considering the fact that most of the food we eat do contain the protein. That said, with time and patience, the person with the celiac disease ends up finding that there are many other foods out there that do not contain gluten. It is just a matter of getting used to them.
Gluten Free Diet Purpose
The idea of eating foods that do not contain any gluten is to avoid a situation where a person with the celiac disease gets his intestines inflamed.
It will take some time for an individual diagnosed with the disease to get used to the new diet. In the beginning, he may feel like he is been deprived of food that everyday people eat. But the good news is today there are many loaves of bread and pastain the market that are gluten-free. It is now common to come across a grocery store that sells gluten-free food. For those who can’t find those store in their area, it is a good idea to start the research online to locate one.
Before anything, first consult a dietitian if you intend to change your diet. He is the best person to advise you on the best choices to make when trying to avoid gluten.
There are already many foods that do not contain any gluten in their natural state. This is the case for a lot of foods in their unprocessed form. Examples are seeds, nuts and beans. You should also feel free to eat fresh eggs, fish and poultry meat, so far as they are not breaded, batter-coated or marinated.
Most fruits and vegetables should also be ok. You can try dairy products too. You can eat grains that have not been industrially processed. Examples of such grainsare millet, flax, corn, soy, rice, amaranth, buckwheat, tapioca. Anything else should be avoided.
Foods to Be Avoided
As a person suffering from the celiac disease, it is important to avoid any food or drink that is made of grain known to be rich in gluten such as:
- Barley (use in malt and Guinness)
It can be quite a challenge to avoid product made with wheat because they may appear in so many different forms and many different products. Here are the names you should have in mind when trying to avoid flours that contain wheat: Bulgur, Spelt, Durum flour, Farina, Semolina, Graham Flour, and Kamut.
There is a situation where you can take a supposedly forbidden food. That is when it is specifically written on it “Gluten-free”. In that case, you may have beer, candies, French fries, Pasta, Salad dressings and all kinds of soups. But make sure you cross-check that it is indeed gluten-free.
By choosing to eat gluten-free food you can
- Avoid inflammation of the intestines in the case of celiac disease
- Eat a healthier diet by avoiding processed food.
- Make more cautious choices when it comes to the grains you eat
- Become more attentive to the label written on any food you pick
There may be some disadvantage that result from the fact that you try to avoid gluten:
- By avoiding certain foods, you may reduce the amount of carbohydrate intake
- You may not get enough fiber that could be obtained from traditional sources.
- Gluten-free products may contain higher levels of fats and sugar, and that may result in a possible weight gain.
Risks and Side Effects
The risk involved with being gluten cautious that one may not get all the nutrients and vitamins that could have been obtained when feeding on traditional foods. There are many grains out there that are rich in vitamins. By avoiding them, one may not get enough of the nutrients needed for the body to function properly. It is advised to see a dietitian who will review your diet and make sure it contains enough iron, calcium, folate, niacin, riboflavin, fiber, calcium and thiamin.
Eating foods free of gluten is a good idea for people suffering from the celiac disease. That said those people should also make sure to eat enough fruit and vegetables that will provide them with all the nutrients they may be missing out when avoiding grains.