Gluten-free diets are all the rage. From Hollywood to the health food store, gluten-free is getting lots of promotion. But, you may be wondering, is gluten-free right for me?
If you have Celiac disease, an illness in which gluten aggravates the small intestine, preventing the absorption of food, then you know gluten is not for you. But a gluten-free diet is often indicated for other health concerns.
Many people are sensitive or allergic to gluten and these sensitivities can produce a variety of symptoms from gas and bloating, to anxiety and agitation, to brain fog and fatigue. If you suspect you have a gluten sensitivity, you can be tested. However, allergy tests are often inconclusive. An eliminate and challenge diet, as provided by your nutritional consultant, may be your best resource for identifying intolerance.
If you've been diagnosed with a thyroid condition, or experience symptoms of subclinical hypothyroidism, cold hands and feet, dry skin, fatigue, hair loss, you may also benefit from a gluten free diet. It has recently been determined that the structure of the protein in gluten closely resembles the thyroid gland. When you have an immune response to gluten, the same antibodies that attack it also attack the thyroid tissue, causing strain and destruction of the gland.
If you're interested in going gluten-free because you've heard it's a great way to lose weight, there are two points to consider.
One, if you are in fact sensitive to gluten, removing it from your diet will likely help to restore your body to its natural balance. Internal inflammation will be reduced and with this, you may find that weight loss occurs as health is restored.
Second, because gluten is found primarily in wheat products, as well as barely, rye and oats, when people choose to be gluten-free they often eliminate many staple foods and empty calories from the diet. As long as you are replacing these with healthful foods, you may find that you lose weight. However, if you're simply replacing your daily cupcake with a high- fat, high-sugar, yet gluten-free version, you probably won't achieve the results you're looking for.
Whether you choose to be gluten-free or not, remember that whole, natural foods should always be your first choice for sustaining health and wellness.
Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Hi, I'm Shara Vickers, a Nutritional Health and Fitness Specialist located in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Please have a look around to find out more about my approach to health and the coaching and consulting services I offer to both local and long-distance clients.