Gluten-Free food seems to be everywhere these days. Almost all grocery stores now have a gluten-free section, with restaurants offerings now showing up. Crackers, breads, pasts, cookies and cereals can with seen with this additional gluten-free tag.
What is the reason for gluten free craze? Firstly, it is an important and necessary diet for the gluten sensitive and celiac disease population. Gluten is found in so much of our everyday food. The reaction to gluten can range from an upset stomach to digestive problems.
Gluten intolerance appears in two authentic forms, these being Celiac Disease and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity. A third form is the diet/lifestyle “media-driven” option that may be chosen by individuals in hopes of losing weight or becoming healthier by excluding gluten from the diet.
Gluten intolerance, called Celiac Disease, is a severe reaction that can cause problems, even in small amounts. Gluten here triggers an immune response that can damage the lining of the small intestine. This reaction can interfere with the absorption of nutrients with a range of problems including nerve damage,osteoporosis, infertility and seizures. a visit to a doctor and simple blood test can identify celiac disease. Health Canada reports that about 1% of the population has celiac disease in Canada (May 2017)
A related condition is called gluten sensitivity or non-celiac gluten sensitivity and can result in similar problems to celiac disease except for the intestinal damage.
Apart from the above genuine gluten intolerance conditions, are those individuals who may experiment with a gluten-free diet, influenced by popular media. Among the non-substantiated claims, are promises that a gluten-free diet can enhance weight loss, boost energy, treat autism or just to feel better. To date, there is little, if any, scientific research to back up these claims. Random individual reaction may be the only form of support for any claims of weight loss or increased energy
In reality, a gluten-free diet is expensive and restrictive, not to mention deficient in dietary fiber and vitamins. Supplements must be taken to provide a healthy well balanced diet. A visit to a doctor, including an expert in healthy diets and nutritionist, would be well advised before considering a gluten-free diet.