Who really should go on a gluten-free diet? This question is asked by anyone who has come across products with the characteristic crossed grain. Is it a weight loss diet to help improve your health, or is it a fashion?
Debunking myths – where does the truth lie?
First of all, despite the many opinions that link weight loss to going gluten-free, it is not the main goal and should not be the reasons for a glute-free diet. It’s true that pounds may start to come off, but weight loss is the result of an overall change in diet and style, not just getting rid of gluten.
The time when gluten-free diets were trendy is passing but why is interest in gluten-free foods growing? Recently, the diagnosis of diseases has improved significantly, which turned out to be very helpful for people struggling for years with ailments caused by intolerance or hypersensitivity to gluten. Earlier, most of them lived being unaware of the disease which contributed to a significant reduction in their quality of life and well-being.
Gluten-free diet – for better health!
We already know that getting rid of gluten should not be considered a weight loss diet or succumbing to fashion. It is primarily a significant change in diet with the aim to improve health.
Gluten-free diet is targeted at three groups of people:
- Those suffering from coeliac disease – in Poland they account for about 1% of the society. In their case, it is safe to say that gluten is a very slow but effective killer. Although celiac disease is genetic, it can manifest itself even in adulthood. Gluten destroys the intestinal villi, leading to permanent malnutrition and general inflammation. Patients suffer from a wide range of symptoms starting with rashes to abdominal pain, headaches, diarrhea and neurological disorders. Celiac disease stays with the patient for life from the moment of being diagnosed. However, life quality can definitely be improved by following a strict gluten-free diet.
- Those who have been diagnosed with an allergy to cereals including wheat – this allergy affects both children and adults. Unlike celiac disease, you can grow out of it. Nevertheless, it is a very troublesome condition and often difficult to diagnose. Symptoms may occur either minutes or days after ingesting gluten. It causes vomiting, diarrhea and skin complaints. Importantly, gluten is one of the most common food allergens, so it is advisable to consult a doctor about potential allergy to this ingredient if the above-mentioned symptoms recur.
- Those with gluten sensitivity and those switching to a gluten-free diet by choice – essentially this group of people, until recently ignored, accounts for the largest percentage of gluten-free people. Estimates put the number of people who suffer from gluten sensitivity at 6 out of 100, which include: stomach, intestinal and skin complaints, headaches, fatigue and depression. These individuals cannot be classified in any of the aforementioned categories because their test results do not fall within the diagnostic framework and are often uncharacteristic. However, clinical symptoms provide sufficient evidence for the indication of a gluten-free diet.
Importantly, also people with thyroid disorders, especially Hashimoto’s disease, should be mentioned. In many cases, doctors recommend gluten withdrawal, thus observing the possibility of thyroid hormone reduction.
People who decide to go on a gluten-free diet by choice, without confirmation by test results that suggest such diet to them, should watch their body’s reactions very carefully. For products that have gluten are not necessary for proper nutrition and if they feel better after giving them up, it is a clear indication to them that they should stay on gluten-free diet.
Gluten-free products for healthy people?
Above, we managed to debunk the validity of healthy people going on a strict gluten-free diet. However, using gluten-free products in the kitchen, such as naturally gluten-free flours or pastas, is a very good way to add variety to the diet for these people. For example, teff seeds are rich in iron, potassium, calcium, zinc or phosphorus and are an ideal addition to the diet – not only for gluten-free people.
Adding or using high quality flours in baked goods and dishes such as teff , millet or amaranth flour, enriches the food with nutritional values not found in wheat flour, and moreover, brings out the original taste of the dishes.
And why would you go for gluten-free products? We would love to hear your stories 🙂