Many people remove gluten from their diet for medical reasons, but is there health benefits for those who are not gluten intolerant?
Those with celiac disease suffer from an intolerance to gluten, a protein found in foods containing wheat, barely, or rye. Gluten is found mainly in food but can also be found in lip balms and medicines. People with gluten intolerance have an inability to absorb certain nutrients which leads to vitamin deficiencies. These deficiencies can deprive the brain, bones, and other vital organs.
The only treatment for celiac disease is to switch to a gluten-free diet. After a few days of gluten-free eating, the symptoms will stop for most people. In order to stay well, most people need to avoid gluten for the rest of their lives.
Symptoms of Celiac Disease
The symptoms of celiac disease vary from person to person. Some people with celiac disease may have no symptoms but can still develop complications from the disease over time.
- joint pain
- weight loss
- abdominal bloating or pain
Foods to Avoid
All of these foods contain gluten unless indicated otherwise on the packaging. These foods should be avoided by those with celiac disease.
- cakes and pies
These grains are made without wheat and are acceptable for those with gluten intolerance.
- oats (only if indicated on the package)
Plain meat, fish, rice, fruits, and vegetables also do not contain gluten, so people with celiac disease can eat these foods without any problems.
Will going gluten-free lead to weight loss?
Many people have lost weight when they switch to a gluten-free diet, but it is not because they are eating only gluten-free foods. Foods that have been labeled gluten-free actually contain less fiber, protein, iron, and calcium compared to gluten filled foods. This is because the grains and other ingredients companies use to replace wheat flour are low in nutrients.
The reason that people may appear to lose weight on a gluten-free diet is not because of the gluten-free foods but because of the fact that they are simply eating less. When you are gluten intolerant you need to be careful of what you buy at the grocery store, what you buy for lunch at school or work, what you eat at parties and what you grab for a snack. Being gluten-free restricts a person’s diet severely, which usually leads to weight loss.
Those who are not gluten intolerant should stick to a regular balanced diet. While there are benefits to following a gluten-free diet, it is not a good way to lose weight or become healthier. A balanced diet along with a consistent exercise program is the best way to manage weight and health.