Gluten-free food products spread throughout the markets and more and more people are choosing them to maintain a gluten-free diet that is supposed to be a health cautious option. But is it really that important to let go of gluten?
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein that got its name because it is as sticky as glue. This protein is in wheat, rye and barley; that is why dough made from them is sticky. You would expect pastries, pasta and cereal to normally have gluten in them. Apart from food products, gluten is also available in the glue of stamps and envelopes and in some cosmetic products.
Who really needs a gluten-free diet?
Some people suffer from one of two kinds of gluten intolerance, non-celiac gluten intolerance and a celiac one. The reaction of their bodies to gluten makes it necessary for them to choose a gluten-free diet. Those who experience non-celiac gluten intolerance, known as non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), have symptoms like skin rash, headache, fatigue, bloating and diarrhea.
The celiac gluten intolerance known as celiac disease is more health threatening. In celiac disease, the gluten makes the immune system attack the inner lining of the small intestine. This hinders the absorption of nutrients thus leading to weight loss, anemia and delayed growth. Conditions like infertility, multiple sclerosis and osteoporosis can also be caused by celiac disease.
Is a gluten-free diet good for those who don’t suffer from gluten intolerance?
If you suspect having celiac disease, you have to go to the doctor to get the proper treatment. Going on a gluten-free diet before being tested for celiac disease may give a false negative. Moreover, eliminating gluten from your life by yourself can do more harm than good. That is because a gluten-free diet can decrease the amounts of important nutrients such as fiber, iron, niacin, calcium, folate, riboflavin and thiamin.