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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Should You Go Gluten-Free?

Gluten-free seems to be the latest buzz on things to avoid in foods. Sometimes, avoiding a protein can be a good thing. But in this case, it can cause unwanted side affects if avoided. So, before jumping on the bandwagon in response to all the advertising, consider what gluten is and how it affects the body before making a decision to avoid it altogether.

Gluten is a protein composite that is found in all sorts of wheat, rye and barley products. It gives elasticity to dough and it's what makes these products chewy. Gluten comes from the seeds of wheat, rye and barley. It sounds natural and good for you, and for most people it is. A diet rich in whole grains can help reduce the risk of heart disease, some types of cancer, and
Type-2 diabetes. In fact, it's good for about 99 percent of the population. So, what's all the fuss about gluten?

About one percent of the population has been diagnosed with a disease called Celiac (SEE-lee-ak). It affects the small intestines of some people when they eat foods containing gluten, causing damage to the inner surface of the small intestines and affects its ability to absorb some nutrients. The symptoms are abdominal pain and diarrhea. In addition, loss of nutrients leads to vitamin deficiency that can affect the brain, peripheral nervous system, bones, liver and other organs.

So far, this is the only scientific, conclusive evidence found for reasons to give up gluten, although many claims have been made recently as to its link to arthritis, anemia, infertility, psoriasis, and osteoporosis. Of course, gluten is found in foods like bread, pasta, cookies, pizza dough and more. But, unless one is trying to lose weight, gluten appears to be safe for most of the population.
DISCLAIMER: The content or opinions expressed on this web site are not to be interpreted as medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or medical practictioner before utilizing any suggestions on this web site.