The gluten free diet has become a very popular fad diet and the low carb craze is coming back in full force. There are some important things to know and understand about gluten…check them out below:
1. What gluten is: gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Therefore, many pastas, breads, and cereals have gluten in them. It can also be found in many salad dressings, sauces, and beers. Gluten helps food to maintain their shape, acting as a sort of glue.
2. Who needs to avoid gluten: people with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder, cannot have gluten. Their body’s immune response to gluten damages their intestinal wall, causing abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, and diarrhea.
3. Gluten and weight loss: people who choose not to eat gluten tend to avoid foods like bread, pastas, and cereals. These foods are also full of carbohydrates, which get broken down into sugars so that the body can use them for energy. Too many carbohydrates can cause your body to store the excess energy in fat, causing weight gain. If a person is avoiding eating these carbohydrate-rich foods, they will have to get their energy elsewhere, such as from fruits, vegetables, legumes, and lean meats. This healthy change in diet doesn’t have to mean cutting out gluten, just making healthier choices and practicing portion control. It is important to note that many gluten free packaged foods can be highly processed and a lot of times higher in fats or sodium so not always the healthier choice! A gluten free diet is only recommended for those who truly are gluten intolerant and should not be used as a fad diet!