The Lowdown on Celiac Disease and Gluten Free Diets

Take a stroll through your local supermarket, and you’ll notice a ton of new gluten free foods. Find out what a gluten free diet is all about, and whether eating gluten free might be a good dietary decision for you and your family.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a type of protein that is commonly found in most types of grain, in particular wheat, rye and barley.  Because gluten is found in most cereal grains then foods such as breads, cakes, breakfast cereals and many types of processed food where gluten is as a thickener need to be avoided by those who are sensitive to gluten.  Gluten can also pop up in other unexpected places such as medicines, cosmetics, lip-balm, and vitamin tablets where it’s used as a binding or bulking agent.

Why go Gluten-free?

Sufferers of the digestive disorder Celiac disease need to undertake a gluten free diet as gluten can cause severe damage to the small intestine.  This damage prevents the body from absorbing the vital nutrients, vitamins and minerals needed from food, without these nutrients the body becomes prone to illness and fatigue.

Symptoms of Celiac disease include diarrhea, abdominal pains, weight loss, general weakness and even malnutrition. Those with Celiac disease are also more likely to suffer malabsorption problems with internal organs such as the liver and gall bladder, as well as osteoporosis, infertility, anemia, tooth enamel loss and internal bleeding. Untreated Celiac disease can be life threatening.

Who is Affected by Celiac Disease?

It’s thought that almost 1 in 133 Americans suffer from Celiac disease, although 97% of sufferers are unaware they have the disease.  Celiac is a hereditary disease that usually presents itself in early infancy.  However more and more adults are being diagnosed with Celiac disease, in particular people between the ages of 30 and 45.

It is prudent to get yourself checked out by your doctor if you think you have a wheat intolerance, as many people have been found to have undetected Celiac disease this way. A simple blood test can detect whether a patient is likely to have Celiac disease with a follow up biopsy of the small intestine taken. Celiac Disease affects both men and women equally and you are more likely to have it if a close member of your family is affected by it.

Studies show that those of Northern European descent are more likely to have Celiac disease, along with those from parts of India, Pakistan, North Africa and the Middle East.

How to Treat Celiac Disease

As yet there is no known cure for Celiac disease. The only way to manage it is to eat a gluten free diet.

Other Reasons to be Gluten Free

Many people now believe that gluten free diets for children can be beneficial for those on the Autism spectrum. While no clinical trials have taken place to confirm or deny this there is a definite growing trend for a gluten free diet to treat a number of ailments. From Parkinson’s disease to diabetes, multiple sclerosis to arthritis, research is showing that an improved digestive system leads to better overall health and sufferers of these, and many other diseases, are showing less symptoms and faster recovery times.

Gluten-free for Weight Loss

A gluten free diet will be low in net carbs and low GI.  It will also, by default, be high in protein which in turn makes it a very good diet plan for losing weight, providing that you’re not trading in your gluten for high sugar content food instead.

Gluten-free Alternatives

Thankfully there are lots of gluten free alternatives on the market, including chips, bagels, cookies, brownies, breads, cereals and pizza crusts.  We at Linda’s Diet Delights are online leaders in the Gluten-free market and stock a large range of gluten-free foods.

Thanks for reading our article! Did you know that there are many great-tasting gluten free food products on the market today that can make sticking to your gluten free diet a breeze? Linda’s Diet Delites is a leading online supplier of low carb food products, offering a wide selection at affordable prices. Take a look!

Michael Nace is a low carb blogger for Linda’s Diet Delites. He is not a Doctor, and his article does not represent the view and opinions of Linda’s Diet Delites, nor are his articles meant to be construed as medical advice.