**Do NOT start a gluten-free diet without proper medical testing first. Eliminating gluten from the diet may result inaccurate test results.**
Gluten-free is the new darling of the health world. But is it right for you?
If you are DIAGNOSED with celiac disease, you should follow a strict gluten-free diet.
People with celiac disease have actually damage to the fingerlike villi lining their small intestines and produce antibodies each time they ingest gluten. The only cure for this disease is a medically prescribed diet free from wheat, rye and barley. This includes strict avoidance of cross contamination, ingredients, cooking water and surfaces, and utensils. It is estimated that approximately 1% of people in the USA, Europe and Australia have celiac disease.
People with Gluten Intolerance or Sensitivity (non-celiac gluten sensitivity) do not have damage to their intestinal lining. However, they experience unpleasant symptoms such as headaches, bloating, fatigue, or diarrhea after eating foods containing gluten. As a result, they find that a gluten-free diet improves the quality of life. It is difficult to estimate how many people are sensitive to gluten. It is more prevalent than celiac disease and may be a frequent as one in ten.
**People who are having unpleasant or debilitating symptoms after eating gluten containing foods should be tested for celiac disease by a medical professional before starting a gluten free diet.**
Gluten-free as a choice
People who diet consists primarily of wheat may want to consider replacing some of the bread or pasta in their diet with fruits, vegetables, and non gluten containing grains.
People who already follow a healthy diet of whole fresh foods, actively avoid processed foods, and do not have any symptoms when eating gluten containing whole grains will not see a significant benefit in changing their diet.
Are gluten-free products healthier than the traditional gluten-containing ones?
Most likely no. Items such as gluten-free breads, cookies and pasta are typically filled with sugar and simple carbohydrates. For people with celiac disease who are unable to eat wheat, these substitutions are pleasant treats.
Will going gluten-free help me lose weight?
Weight loss of a gluten-free diet is very much dependent on what foods are chosen in place of wheat. Gluten-free cookies will not help anyone with a diet. It is much better to replace cookies with a whole piece of fruit or vegetables. A healthy diet and regular exercise or physical activity will help manage weight far more effectively than adopting a gluten-free diet.
It is worth noting that in the early stages of a gluten-free diet, most people who have been diagnosed with celiac disease will actually gain weight. As their villi heal and regrow, they are able to absorb more nutrients and calories than they could pre-diagnosis.