These days you can’t walk into a supermarket without seeing a gluten-free section. This seems to be a trend. Some folks really may benefit from this diet change, but others, possibly not. It’s safe to say that there are even people out there who aren’t sure exactly why they want to eat more gluten-free foods, but that it seems as if they should do so. The following are some facts about gluten that you’ll be better off considering before making a decision about cutting down or eliminating gluten from your diet.
What is gluten?
First, it’s important to know about gluten in general. Gluten is a protein composite that occurs naturally. It’s found mainly in barley, rye, wheat and certain oats. It consists of proteins, glutenin and gliadin. If celiac disease or gluten hypersensitivity are suspected, a doctor will check for anti-gliadin antibodies. Gliadin will trigger an immune response in celiac patients.
Gluten is not contained in all grains
Some oats, corn and rice don’t contain gluten and are typically safe for those with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.
Gluten can be digested
It’s often said that humans can’t naturally digest gluten, but researchers have determined that the human mouth has symbiotic bacteria colonies that aid in breaking down gluten. The question remains as to whether the bacteria developed in the mouth or became widespread due to the modern western diet.
Allergies and sensitivities differ
While some of the symptoms of a gluten allergy (celiac disease) and gluten sensitivity are the same, those with celiac disease suffer issues beyond those with a sensitivity. Gluten sensitivity problems can be avoided with a special diet.
Celiac disease is an allergy
It’s a gluten allergy, to be specific.
Gluten worsens celiac disease
Those who suffer from celiac disease show more symptoms than bloating, flatulence and other intestinal issues. Gluten inhibits absorption of nutrients. It can also make its way into the bloodstream and cause problems with hearing, serious rash, and bone loss or problems with bone mineral density.
Kids are impacted by gluten sensitivity
Some children are born with celiac disease. Others have been more frequently found to have symptoms of gluten sensitivity and GI illnesses.
Gluten is a problem worldwide
Thankfully, there are many more delicious, gluten-free options worldwide, to meet the needs of an increasingly gluten sensitive population.
You can go gluten-free
If you want or need to eliminate gluten, just check to make sure products don’t contain barley, rye and triticale (rye+wheat), wheat and wheat products such as durum flour, graham flour, kamut, semolina, farina, bulgur, and spelt. Ask your doctor if this is the right choice for you.