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The Truth About Gluten in Your Diet

When Gluten Should Be Removed From Your Diet

What is Gluten?

With the popularity of the gluten-free diet in recent years, many people find themselves asking what gluten is and how it affects their health? A protein commonly found in grains such as wheat, barley, and rye, gluten can be found in foods like pasta, cereal, and bread.

Many people choose to cut products that contain gluten out of their diet because it is believed that following a gluten-free diet will help them to attain better health and avoid certain illnesses. On the other hand, there are some people who have a gluten intolerance or sensitivity and actually have to eliminate gluten in order to avoid a multitude of medical issues and symptoms.

Celiac disease

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system mistakes gluten as foreign to the body. When people who have celiac disease eat foods that contain gluten, the body begins to attack and fight it off once it enters the small intestine, ultimately causing illness.

Celiac disease often goes undiagnosed because people may only experience mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. When symptoms do arise, they can include the following:

  • Abdominal bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Pale, foul-smelling, or fatty stools

When celiac disease causes poor absorption of nutrients, more severe symptoms can include:

  • Arthritis
  • Unexplained broken bones
  • Bone loss (osteoporosis)
  • Missed periods
  • Tingling or numb feeling hands and feet

Gluten Sensitivity

With milder symptoms than celiac disease, a sensitivity to gluten differs from intolerance in that you won’t test positive for celiac but may find relief when cutting gluten or wheat from your diet. Those with a sensitivity won’t have any long term damage to their intensities.

The Impact of Gluten on Your Health

Many people who do not have celiac have turned to gluten-free diets because they believe it will help them to lose weight, have more energy, feel healthier, and even treat autism. However, these claims have little or no medical evidence to support them.

If you believe that you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, it is best for you to speak with your primary care physician before cutting gluten out of your diet, as it can make proper diagnosis more difficult.

Methodist Premier Wellness is centered around your total health: mind, body, and spirit. Whether you are home or away, we are accessible and ready to assist you! Schedule your comprehensive health exam or blood analysis, or contact Dr. Hollenshead about nutrition counseling today.