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Gluten-Free Diets are Incredibly Popular for Those With Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that affects millions of people globally. When individuals with this condition consume gluten, a protein in barley, rye, and wheat, their immune system attacks the small intestine lining, causing inflammation and damage that may result in various symptoms and long-term health issues. Once medics diagnose that you have celiac disease, they will recommend that you adjust to a gluten-free, nutrient-rich, and balanced diet.
Dieticians say that an effective treatment for this condition is to stick to a strict gluten-free diet, where you avoid all food and drinks with gluten. It is worth noting that even negligible amounts of gluten, like a spoonful of pasta, can lead to intestinal symptoms. The good news is that finding a gluten-free diet is easier than ever, thanks to increasing gluten-free options in restaurants, supermarkets, and groceries.

Benefits of a Gluten Free Diet

There are countless reasons why people may choose to adopt a gluten-free lifestyle, and understanding the benefits can help make this dietary change. Here are the main benefits of a gluten-free diet:

  • Improves Energy Levels - Gluten sensitivity can cause chronic fatigue due to the damage it causes to the intestines, impairing the absorption of nutrients like iron. Switching to a gluten-free diet can allow the intestines to heal and restore nutrient absorption, potentially improving energy levels and minimizing anemia.
  • Relief from Digestive Symptoms - Some people may experience digestive issues like diarrhea, boating, and constipation due to gluten consumption. They should, thus, take gluten-free diets to eliminate these symptoms.
  • Enhances Nutrient Intake - Although some individuals find a gluten-free diet hard to follow, it encourages most people to consume nutrient-dense and whole foods like lean proteins, healthy fats, vegetables, and fruits.

Myths People Believe About Gluten Free

Despite gluten-free diets' growing popularity, there are several myths surrounding them, and they include the following:

  • It Only Suits People with Celiac Disease - While this diet is essential for individuals with celiac disease, other conditions, such as gluten sensitivity, can benefit from a gluten-free diet.
  • All Gluten-free Foods are Healthy - Remember that just because a product has a gluten-free label doesn't necessarily mean it's healthy. Indeed, most gluten-free products in groceries and retail shops contain unhealthy fats, artificial ingredients, and added sugars.
  • The Diet Helps in Weight Loss - While consuming a gluten-free diet may lead to weight loss, it is worth noting that it works when one takes a reduced calorie intake. Some gluten-free products have high fats and calories, like typical foods and drinks.
  • Small Gluten Amounts are Safe - People with celiac disease may experience damage to their intestinal cells from even small amounts of gluten, even if they don't experience immediate symptoms. Similarly, small amounts of gluten may affect individuals with gluten sensitivity.

It needs to be clarified whether some people with gluten sensitivity can tolerate small amounts of gluten. Regardless, anyone following a gluten-free diet for health reasons should avoid any contact with gluten, including minimal amounts, unless advised otherwise by a healthcare professional.

Foods to Replace Those Lost in a Gluten-Free Diet

Individuals newly diagnosed with a gluten-related condition may initially find the idea of a strict gluten-free diet overwhelming. However, adapting to a gluten-free diet can be relatively straightforward with the right information and resources. Here are the foods that these individuals must consume:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Potatoes
  • Meat and fish
  • Most dairy products like milk, butter, and cheese
  • rice and rice noodles
  • Seeds, beans, unprocessed and natural nuts

Starches, flours, and grains that might be part of a good gluten-free diet include:

  • Arrowroot
  • Corn
  • Buckwheat
  • Amaranth
  • Sorghum
  • Millet
  • Cassava root

When purchasing processed foods, it's essential to check the labels to discover whether they contain gluten. Any foods with wheat, barley, rye, triticale, or an ingredient derived from these grains, must list the grain's name on the content label. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), foods that are labeled as gluten-free must have less than 20 parts per million of gluten.

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