Gluten is controversial these days. Most sources claim that it is safe for everyone except those who have celiac disease. On the other hand, some health experts believe that gluten is harmful for most people.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat, rye and barley Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together.
Who would benefit from a gluten free diet?
- Celiac disease
Celiac disease, is the most severe form of gluten intolerance. It affects about 0.7-1% of the population
It is an autoimmune disorder, and involves the body treating gluten as a foreign invader. The immune system attacks the gluten, as well as the lining of the gut.
Some people with celiac disease have no symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they can include:
- Pain in the belly
- Bowel movements that are oily and float
- Weight loss
- Feeling bloated, or too full all the time
- Low appetite
- Bad gas
- Itchy skin rashes
- Invisible symptoms, such as weak bones or low iron levels
- Slow growth in children
Celiac disease can be very difficult to diagnose. In fact, up to 80% of people with celiac disease don’t know that they have it
- Non-celiac gluten sensitivity
There are many people who do not test positive for celiac disease, but still react negatively to gluten.
This condition is called non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
Symptoms of gluten sensitivity include diarrhea, stomach pain, tiredness, bloating and depression.
There is no clear definition of non-celiac gluten sensitivity, but the diagnosis is made when a patient reacts negatively to gluten, but celiac disease and allergies have been ruled out.
However, some experts believe this isn’t a real condition. They think the adverse effects are imaginary or caused by substances other than gluten.
Many people who think they’re gluten intolerant actually have other causes for their symptoms.
Benefits of Gluten-Free Diet
Gluten-free diets do help people who are sensitive to gluten
Still, there’s no proof that a gluten-free diet helps with other conditions or with weight loss.
There’s a misconception that it’s very, very healthy and you’re automatically going to lose weight on it, this is not true. It’s not necessarily healthy.
If you suspect you might have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity – talk to your family doctor.