A recent trend in dieting is the gluten-free diet. Many celebrities have been following this diet, claiming that it is healthier, and several millions all over the world have adopted the gluten-free lifestyle. But many of these people do not even know what gluten is and whether it really is harmful to the body and what is celiac disease.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat that we use to make flour, which is a key ingredient in many common foods and drinks such as bread, pasta and cereals. The main function of gluten is to give consistency and elasticity to dough in order to make it chewable.
In the past few years, many people have adopted a gluten-free diet without knowing what gluten really is. But as we have seen, gluten is nothing to be afraid of and does no harm to your body – unless you have celiac disease.
What is celiac disease?
Celiac disease is a disorder of the autoimmunity whereby the consumption of gluten harms the small intestine. Symptoms of celiac disease include digestive problems such as diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, weight loss, etc. Symptoms also include behavioral disorders such as ADHD and bad temper.
The gluten-free diet
People with celiac disease should avoid any food or drink that contains gluten in order to protect their intestines. Even the smallest amount of the protein can bring on abdominal symptoms. That means cutting out all sorts of breads and pastas, everything that contains wheat such as cookies, candy, cakes, beer, etc.
They can, however, have these foods and drinks if they are labelled “gluten-free,” as awareness concerning the disease has pushed manufacturers to make products specifically for those with gluten insensitivity.
Should you follow a gluten-free diet?
Studies have shown that, for people who do not suffer from celiac disease, gluten is a harmless protein, so there is no reason for you to eliminate it from your diet.
In addition, many foods that contain gluten are essential to our health because they provide us with fibers and other important nutrients.
The best thing you can do is to consult your dietitian or your doctor if you are considering following a gluten-free diet.