Going Gluten-free: A New Trend or a Smart Choice?

Not long ago, the term “gluten-free” was thought to only be for those who suffered serious health issues in regard to gluten intolerances. Today, however, many individuals are choosing to live a gluten-free life.

There are many reasons people will opt for a gluten-free diet. Some are more obvious than others and include:

  • Celiac disease
  • Gluten intolerance
  • Wheat allergies
  • Inflammatory processes
  • Personal choice

Celiac Disease

When particles of gluten bond with intestinal proteins and generate a hypersensitive overreaction from white blood cells, celiac disease can develop. The small intestine plays an integral role in this process as they are designed to absorb nutrients. With Celiac Disease, however, the small intestines cannot do their job properly because the body’s white blood cells incorrectly identify the gluten bond particles as an enemy and therefore set out to destroy the lining of the small intestine.

Some of the symptoms of celiac disease are associated with other diseases though so blood tests are typically necessary to properly diagnose the problem. Some of those symptoms you may experience with Celiac Disease are as follows:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss

Gluten Intolerance

Word of mouth is a very powerful tool. Many individuals have opted to adopt a gluten-free lifestyle because someone that they know has touted the benefits from doing so. For most individuals, there are no real cut and dry answers as to whether he or she may have intolerance to gluten. Blood work along with an endoscopic biopsy of the small intestine will determine if the patient has celiac disease, however, there is not much in the way scientifically to report whether a person has gluten intolerance.

Many individuals claim to simply feel better when not eating products that contain gluten. These people state that living a gluten-free lifestyle simply leaves them feeling more energized, less bloated, and with clearer thinking capacities.

Wheat Allergies

Wheat allergies, however, are another story. An allergy, unlike intolerance, caused by gluten is a serious subject. When an antibody to wheat is produced, also known as an IgE, many allergic reactions will occur:

  • Hives
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Itchy eyes, nose, throat
  • Cramping
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • And in worse case scenarios, anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis can cause many serious side effects such as:

  • trouble swallowing
  • difficulty breathing
  • chest pain
  • tightening of the throat
  • an accelerated heart beat

Thankfully, these are the extreme cases.

Inflammatory Process

While there is no concrete evidence either medically or scientifically that going gluten-free is necessary for inflammation to decrease, many individuals who stick to a gluten-free diet believe that it does help.

Some individuals tout the benefits of being gluten-free as having more energy and feeling less bloated; but research does not support this as of yet.

Personal Choice

For those with true celiac disease, it must be hard to comprehend why anyone who did not have to would go on a gluten-free diet. Gluten-free products are extremely costly and definitely do taste differently.

Having said that, individuals become gluten-free for many reasons:

  1. According to celebrities in the media, it is all the rage right now. Some individuals want to be trendy and follow those trends regardless of the reasoning.
  2. Other consumers of gluten-free products say that they feel differently when eating a strictly gluten-free diet. Benefits such as more energy, less bloating, better memory are just a few of the claims made by individuals for going gluten-free.
  3. Losing weight is a big motivator. Some individuals have pronounced the most positive effect of going gluten-free is the ability to lose weight and keep it off.
  4. Avoiding things such as gas, bloating, cramping, and fatigue are a big bonus, as well.
  5. Gaining more mental clarity is something that most everyone both male and female would appreciate obtaining.

For many consumers, eating a diet without gluten simply makes them feel better, whether or not they are reaping any scientifically proven benefits and rewards

To avoid feeling the dreaded bloating often associated with eating gluten-filled foods, people may choose to go gluten-free. Bloat is something everyone experiences, some more than others. Women tend to get hit doubly during their menstrual cycle. So if there is even a slim chance to alleviate some of the gluten related bloating, many will be happy to give a gluten-free diet a try.

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