While gluten is a protein found in many foods, it’s not necessarily healthy for our systems. People who have the autoimmune disorder known as Celiac Disease understand this best of all, as ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine.
Understanding the plight of the Celiac sufferer or gluten-intolerant friend is one of the perks of reading our posts and magazine. The more educated we are, the better we understand those that live the gluten-free lifestyle!
Here are some basic points to remember about Celiac Disease
1. It is not an allergy
It’s a common misconception that those with Celiac are allergic to gluten.
2. It is autoimmune
Those diagnosed with Celiac Disease suffer damage to the lower intestine if they ingest gluten.
3. Celiac for life
There is no cure or prevention, but following a gluten-free diet is the way of life!
4. Gluten hides everywhere
From beer to soy sauce, gluten is in far more items than the bread products lining the shelves of your local bakery.
5. Celiac leads to other issues
If undiagnosed, this autoimmune disease can lead to other issues, such as lactose intolerance, anemia, and GI cancers.
Is gluten-free healthier?
There’s little evidence that a gluten-free diet offers any particular health benefits. However, a gluten-free diet can still be a healthy way to eat depending on which gluten-free foods you choose, how often you eat them and whether your other food choices are healthy ones.
Good food choices include naturally gluten-free foods, such as lean meats, low-fat dairy, vegetables, fruit, whole gluten-free grains and healthy fats.
It’s important not to replace gluten-containing foods with more red meat, full-fat dairy, starchy vegetables, sweets and fats, which can lead to a higher intake of cholesterol, saturated fat, sodium and unwanted calories.
It’s also prudent to limit commercially prepared gluten-free snacks and bakery products, which are typically high in refined carbohydrate, fat, sugar and salt — just like their gluten-containing counterparts.
Studies suggest that the nutritional quality of commercially prepared gluten-free products varies from similar gluten-containing products. In several countries, for example, commercially prepared gluten-free foods are lower in protein than their conventional counterparts.
However, gluten-free whole grains, such as amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, teff, millet, corn and rice, are good natural sources of folate, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and iron — as well as protein and fiber. One grain that is gluten-free but can be suspect is oats. Make sure if you select oats you check the label for confirmation.
Stay tuned to learn more!