For years gluten was hardly in the public eye. Gluten free diets have recently become all the rage on websites and social media, with celebrities posting about their gluten-free lifestyles, claiming that eliminating gluten from their diets reduces belly bloat, increases energy and provides a better physique.
Research is now showing that at least 55 diseases are linked to gluten, with celiac disease leading the ranks. It is estimated that gluten intolerance affects 15% of the US population, with 99% of those affected never diagnosed.
WHAT IS GLUTEN?
Gluten is composed of two proteins: glutenin (a glutelin protein) and gliadin (a prolamin protein) . It is found in cereal grains, especially wheat. Most people don’t know that gluten is what makes bread course and spongy or gives pizza dough its elastic texture. It’s also used to thicken soups and sauces.
Although gluten is often thought of as being specific to wheat, it is also found in rye and barley. Not all grains contain gluten. Gluten-free grains include millet, sorghum, brown rice, wild rice, buckwheat, quinoa, oats, and polenta.
DISEASES & SYMPTOMS LINKED TO GLUTEN INTOLERANCE
1. Bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and gas. It is important to note that constipation in children is often noted after they eat gluten.
2. Fatigue, dizziness, tiredness, brain fog, and migraine headaches are often noticed after eating a meal containing gluten.
3. Depression, anxiety, and mood swings.
4. Inflammation, pain in your joints, and swelling.
5. Keratosis Pilaris (also referred to as “chicken skin” on the backs of arms). This tends to be the result of a vitamin A deficiency in addition to a fatty acid deficiency secondary to fat-malabsorption caused by the damage to the gut caused by gluten.
6. Rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, Ulcerative Colitis, Psoriasis, Multiple Sclerosis, or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
7. PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), unexplained infertility, or PMS.
HOW DO YOU TEST FOR GLUTEN INTOLERANCE
The best way to determine if the problems you are having are due to a gluten sensitivity is to go on an elimination diet, removing gluten totally from your diet for at least three weeks. Once you have gone three weeks without eating any form of gluten, slowly reintroduce gluten containing foods, one at a time, keeping track of what you added when. Remember that gluten is a large protein and it can take months, or even years, to completely clear it out of your body. The longer you can keep it out of your diet, the better.
Once you have eliminated it out of your diet, if you notice that you feel better, or feel worse once you have eaten gluten rich foods, then gluten is most likely a problem for you. To obtain the most accurate results you must eliminate gluten completely.
HOW IS GLUTEN INTOLERANCE TREATED?
The only way to treat gluten intolerance is to eliminate 100% of gluten from your diet. Trace amounts of gluten found in cross contamination, medications, and supplements are enough to cause gluten sensitivity and immune reactions. This means not only eliminating it from your diet at home but not eating anything containing gluten when you eat out.
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