Is Gluten-free for me?
Gluten refers to the proteins found in the endosperm of wheat, barley and rye. It is the part of the wheat that makes dough stretchable and spreadable. People with celiac disease are unable to tolerate gluten because it breaks down the lining of the small intestine and causes damage. Gluten sensitive people experience symptoms similar to those with celiac disease but usually don’t have the severe intestinal damage as seen in celiac disease. However, those with gluten sensitivity can have a prevalence of non-GI related symptoms such as headache, fatigue, foggy mind, joint pain, and numbness in the legs, arms or fingers.
Gluten-free has become the next big diet trend. One reason people who have no real intolerance to gluten perceive it as beneficial is because they have to eliminate fast food and processed foods. People who eliminate these foods from their diets will very likely experience more energy and weight loss simply because they have drastically reduced the amount of simple carbohydrates, sugar and unhealthy fats in their diets, not because they are avoiding the gluten.
Gluten-free breads are now widely available but not only are they missing gluten, they are missing the fiber and nutrients present in whole wheat as well. Gluten-free bread products are made with various combinations of potato starch, brown and white rice flours, oat flour, cornstarch and tapioca starch. These starches increase blood sugar somewhat more than whole wheat products and are not recommended for people trying to lose weight or regulate their diabetes.
It’s a good idea to discuss going gluten-free with a professional so that you can be assured that the change of diet doesn’t create further issues down the road.
Submitted by Ashley Tunstall, Certified Nutritional Consultant at Envision Personalized Health located at 4620 Alvarado Canyon Rd., San Diego. For more information, call 619-229-9695 or EnvisionPersonalizedHealth.com.