The “Gluten Free Diet” seems to the latest craze in the today’s “diet” world. You may remember the “South Beach Diet”, or the “Atkins Diet”. What makes the Gluten Free diet stand out from the others, is that it is based on eliminating a specific food source. In this case, it is wheat based food products. Gluten is a protein found in wheat and acts as a “glue” to help hold foods together. It can also be found in a few other grains like barley and rye. It is that protein that can become harmful in CERTAIN situations. In order to make the decision to be gluten free, we need to first take a look at why being gluten free is necessary for some people.
Going gluten free, derives mostly from people that have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease. This disease is an autoimmune disorder that treats gluten as a foreign invader in our bodies. Our immune system then attacks the gluten to destroy it. The problem is, the immune system will also attack the lining of our gut. This causes damage to our gut wall, which in turn increases the potential for many other health issues such as; nutrient deficiencies, anemia and serious digestive problems such as tissue damage to the small intestine, diarrhea and constipation. In some cases, Celiac Disease has also been linked to depression. Gluten Free diets have also been recommended for certain Diabetic patients.
So, to answer the question “should you be gluten free”, the answer should come from your medical physician. There have been numerous reports indicating that if you have not been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, or prescribed this specific diet plan by your physician, then NO, you should not go gluten free. Studies have suggested that people that go gluten free, but have no autoimmune issues, could potentially be putting themselves at risk for medical problems, by eliminating gluten from their diet. There have also been studies that show going gluten free is beneficial for everyone. I have said several times, and will continue to say, that every body is different. What works for one person, may be harmful to another person. In the case of going gluten free, I say the same thing. Just because we may know someone that does well on this type of plan, does not mean we will. This particular type of diet plan, needs to be prescribed by a physician or medical expert, due to the severe health issues that could result form not making an informed decision.
The health of our bodies is way to important to be making nutrition decisions based on what someone else says or does. We need to take our health seriously and we need to make sure we are getting information that pertains to US as individual’s. So, if you are interested in finding out if this plan would work for you, be sure to contact your physician for guidance.