Do I Need to Stop Eating Gluten?
Gluten-free food sections continue to spring up all over the place, aisles are abound with products catering to those who need to avoid it. From restaurants to online food services, the gluten-free nutrition trend is showing no signs of slowing down.
This is very much a blessing for those who have an intolerance or a sensitivity to gluten, or for people who suffer from celiac disease. But many other people are opting for gluten-free meals and food options these days, in order to boost energy levels, lose weight and feel healthier.
But should you stop eating gluten? Even if you don’t suffer from celiac disease or have an intolerance?
First, What is gluten? And why can it be a problem?
Gluten essentially acts as a glue that helps foods maintain their shape, holding them together. It’s a name for the proteins that are contained in many foods, but primarily in wheat, rye, barley and triticale.
It can be a major problem for those who suffer from celiac disease, an autoimmune disease that makes it difficult to digest food. These people can’t tolerate even a tiny amount of gluten, as it can trigger a response from the immune system when ingested, which can lead to severe intestinal damage. The absorption of nutrients is then negatively affected, and other problems such as nerve damage, seizures, and osteoporosis can occur.
Some suffer from gluten sensitivity or intolerance but not the disease itself, so although similar symptoms appear when gluten is ingested, the lining of the small intestine isn’t damaged. These days, celiac disease can be quickly identified with a blood test.
How do I know if I’m gluten intolerant?
Gluten intolerance can provoke a number of reactions in the body, and these signs and symptoms can help you identify whether you might need to go gluten-free:
Digestion problems – a common symptom of gluten intolerance is experiencing continuous problems with digestion. Such as regular bloating, constipation or diarrhea, along with excessive gas and inflammation in the gut.
Feelings of exhaustion – constantly feeling very tired, in a persistent state of physical and mental fatigue after eating gluten foods, can be an indication of intolerance. Gluten intolerance is also linked with iron-deficiency anemia, which can lead to shortness of breath, dizziness, and headaches.
Pains in joints and muscles – gluten sensitivity can cause inflammation in the body, which results in significant aches and pains for joints and muscles. Excessive inflammation can also cause hormonal imbalance, and neurological symptoms such as dizziness, vertigo, and numbness.
Issues with the skin – certain skin conditions have been linked with gluten intolerance and celiac disease. Such as Keratosis Pilaris, where the skin exhibits raised bumps on the surface, and dermatitis herpetiformis, a blistering skin rash condition.
Developing autoimmune disorders – a continued consumption of gluten when the body is intolerant can cause other autoimmune diseases to develop. Including lupus, arthritis, multiple sclerosis and thyroid disorders.
Severe mood changes – frequent feelings of depression and anxiety are linked to an intolerance to gluten. Individuals with an intolerance can be more prone to sudden mood changes and panic disorders.
If you are suffering from one or a few of these symptoms, do not automatically assume that you have a gluten intolerance, as other conditions may be the underlying cause. Keeping track of what you’ve eaten and when, whenever you start to experience these symptoms can be helpful, before consulting a doctor.
Should you go gluten-free?
With today’s fast-food, sugar laden and over-processed eating habits, it makes perfect sense that people are choosing to change their diets for the better. Many who don’t even suffer from celiac disease or a specific gluten intolerance are favouring gluten-free meals in their diets.
There’s no specific scientific evidence to support that eliminating gluten benefits those who voluntarily cut it out, yet sales of gluten-free products continue to rise each year. If you’re looking to follow a low-carb and high-protein diet routine to aid weight loss, cutting out gluten could help, as this would mean you’d avoid some main sources of starchy carbohydrates, like bread and pasta.
Nutritionally speaking, cutting gluten out completely when not required to do so can cause problems, due to the fact that whole wheat is considered to be a major source of dietary fiber. Taking away whole wheat could make things worse for people who have diets that are already deficient in fiber
Whether you wish to go gluten-free or not, the key to a well balanced diet is regularly eating fresh, nutritiously rich meals. At Prep Perfect, we offer tailored meals made by Michelin trained chefs, using locally sourced, all-natural ingredients.
From our wholesome Gourmet dishes, to our weight loss, maintenance, muscle gain and keto packages, we’ve got meals to suit all tastes and dietary requirements. And of course we have plenty of delicious gluten-free options.