Now a days so many people are “gluten free”, but what does that really mean and does being gluten free really help you? Gluten is found in MANY foods that the average person would not realize. Foods that contain wheat, barley and rye are all foods that also contain gluten. Some examples are beer, oatmeal, crackers, bread, and even some popcorn. Being gluten free also does not mean that this is healthier or better for you, unless you have a true allergy to it.
If you are truly allergic to gluten you have what is calledCeliac’s Disease. Celiac’s disease is a permanent dietary disorder that is caused by an immunologic response to gluten. This means that when you eat gluten, your body recognizes it has a bad or foreign substance and attempts to “fight it off”. This results in damage to your intestine and your body cannot fully absorb the nutrients you are taking in. Symptoms of Celiac’s disease consist of diarrhea, gas/bloating, irritability, weight loss, abdominal pain, fatigue, and cramping after eating foods that contain gluten. The picture below is an example of one way your body can react if you have a gluten allergy or intolerance.
If you truly feel that you have a gluten allergy the best plan is to cut gluten from your diet and make an appointment with your doctor. Another good idea is to avoid dairy products as well, because the symptoms of gluten allergy are similar to what you experience with lactose intolerance. Avoiding gluten and dairy until symptoms subside and then slowly introducing dairy into the diet again can help you determine which is the real culprit.
If gluten ends up being the cause, then you should avoid it and also make sure to take dietary supplements that most foods that contain gluten have. If you do not take these vitamins, it will be very easy for your body to become deficient in them since you will not be eating gluten, which can cause even more problems. These vitamins include folate, iron, calcium and vitamin A, vitamin B12, vitamin D and vitamin E. Make sure to follow up with your doctor to make sure they monitor your vitamin and mineral levels periodically,to make sure you are never deficient or taking too much.