It is estimated that as much as 15% of the US population is gluten intolerant, with many of them being undiagnosed due to the fact that this condition is still not well understood. Gluten sensitivity is a spectrum of disorders and the most known of it is a celiac disease. For those people consuming gluten “makes their bodies produce antibodies that attack and damage the lining of the small intestine”, and puts them at greater risk of developing growth abnormalities, osteoporosis, and even cancer, FDA states. So, should you consider going gluten-free?
As you probably know, gluten is a protein naturally found in wheat, barley and rye, while not in corn, rice, buckwheat, millet or oats (but some, not all, cultivars of oat also can incite a response in gluten intolerant individuals). Symptoms of gluten sensitivity “include bloating, abdominal discomfort or pain, diarrhea, muscular disturbances and bone or joint pain. It can also cause other unexpected symptoms such as headaches and vertigo, among many others” – Wikipedia informs. The only treatment for those people is to follow a gluten-free diet. But while they evade the symptoms of the gluten intolerance by choosing gluten-free food, they need to carefully monitor the nutrition values of the diet intake because many foods they must exclude are packed with the essential vitamins they are requirement to compensate elsewhere. So, this is the only choice for a gluten sensitive person, but if you are not one of them, not being careful on diet choice could easily back fire at you. This is especially important in the case of children’s diet, due to the different needs their developing organisms have.
Thus, regarding the decision on going gluten-free, the person you should talk about is your MD. Because if you are not one of those undiagnosed persons, making this decision can put your health at risk and could lead to malnutrition. Healthy eating is about eating smart. To function well, body needs the six basic elements that constitute health: protein, fat, carbohydrates, water, vitamins and minerals. The amount of these varies depending on many individual factors and one of the generalized advices for a healthy diet is that it rests on balance and moderation. It is of high significance to make sure that your regular food intake is based on variety of different food sources of required nutrition elements, and on avoiding sugar, processed foods, and artificial sweeteners. The way of preparing food is an important factor. Many state that home-made cooking is always a healthier choice. And if you are motivated to try it, you can be surprised how simply and tasty homemade meals can be. Additionally, the effects of regular physical activity on one’s health could not be replaced by any diet, no matter how healthy it is.
Therefore, whether you should choose to go gluten-free or not, keep in mind that there is no simple way of being healthy. Being healthy is more a question of a lifestyle, based on having accurate information and consulting a professional.
Written by Milica Zujko