Giving up Gluten?

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October 16, 2013 by thehealthyheartcenter

Gluten-free diets have become widely-known with increasing popularity. Where did this come from? Some individuals have a gluten intolerance and in severe cases have celiac disease where the only treatment is to follow a gluten-free diet. While it helps these individuals enhance their health and well-being, it may not be for everyone. If you think you or your child may benefit from following a gluten-free diet, see your doctor first before starting to cut gluten out altogether. Not only is following a gluten-free diet difficult, but because it is restrictive it can be hard to consume enough proper nutrients. For those individuals who do not have a gluten intolerance or celiac disease following a gluten-free diet can be incredibly hard with little to no benefit to their health.

How do you know if you have a gluten intolerance or celiac disease?
It’s hard to differentiate between other G.I. disorders and dysfunctions and celiac disease. This is why self-diagnosing can be dangerous and ineffective. Seeing a doctor and discussing your concerns is the best place to start. Giving up gluten before being diagnosed or tested can make it harder to know exactly what may be wrong. Blood tests that test for autoantibodies can be used to diagnose since the condition is genetic. Therefore, if someone in your immediate family has celiac disease, your chance of having it increase to 1 in 22. A biopsy of the small intestine tissue is considered the gold standard in diagnosis of celiac. Individuals with celiac and gluten intolerance have a wide array of symptoms and some are even asymptomatic.

The following are some common symptoms:
– diarrhea
– stomach pain
– bloating
– fatigue
– joint pain
– weight loss
– constipation

What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Unfortunately it is extremely hard to cut out gluten entirely in your diet due to cross-contamination. Naturally gluten-free foods consist of the following: vegetables, fruit, beans, rice, beef, poultry, fish and nuts. However, if these items are cooked with gluten-containing ingredients this can cause a reaction. Cross-contamination makes eating out and in others’ homes quite difficult. Meeting with a Registered Dietitian is incredibly helpful in learning what is allowed or not allowed to be eaten when following a gluten-free diet. A common misconception is that gluten-free labels on food indicate that the food is “healthy”. In fact, being gluten-free does not indicate how nutritious the food may be but simply is there to let people with Celiac know that they can safely consume it.

To learn more about celiac disease check out



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