Gluten-Free Diet For Dummies

Everywhere around us is gluten-free food. You can find it in supermarkets, magazines, and celebrity diets, but is it good for you and can it have real health advantages?

With all the hype, it isn’t hard to forget that there is a medical reason for cutting out the gluten from the diet.

Gluten is a protein which can be found in some types of grain such as rye, barley or wheat, and it can cause an autoimmune reaction in the small intestine which results in symptoms ranging to nutrient malabsorption or stomach pain. People who suffer from this are usually diagnosed with celiac disease and the most efficient solution is a diet which is strict and gluten-free.

1. Should you go gluten-free

In some cases, food companies are forced to add additional sugar and fat to make up for the shortage of flavor and texture. Gluten-free food can be expensive. These products can be the cure for GI issues, however, they can cause a thick waistline and thin wallet. Look for a natural gluten-free food, instead of trying to eat something that’s trying to be something it’s not.

2. Foods

In case you have coeliac disease, your immune system will react to gluten and that can lead to damage to the lining of your gut. This will cause symptoms of the coeliac disease such as diarrhea, bloating, tiredness, nausea, and headaches, and it will only happen if you eat gluten. The only treatment for coeliac disease is the gluten-free diet, and by avoiding gluten, your gut will heal and the symptoms should improve.

If you are on the gluten-free diet then you can eat any naturally gluten-free foods, such as fish, meat, vegetables, fruits, potatoes, rice, and lentils. Also, you can eat processed foods which don’t have gluten, such as ready soups and meals. Gluten-free substitute foods are available, too, such as specially made gluten-free flour, bread, crackers, biscuits, and pasta.

3. Drinks

A lot of alcoholic and soft drinks don’t have gluten, such as flavored water, fruit juice, fizzy drinks, cordials, wine, cider, spirits, sherry, liqueurs, and port. There are also gluten-free beers, which are specially made. However, the following drinks are not good for people who have coeliac disease, and they are beer, barley squashes, stout, and lager.

4. Feeling better

The time varies from person to person to feel better on a gluten-free diet. Within a few days a lot of people feel better and usually, symptoms like diarrhea, bloating and nausea are gone within a few weeks. You can find that one symptom gets better before the other one, and some symptoms may take more time to improve. The time which is required for the gut to completely heal can vary from person to person, and it’s usually from 6 to 24 months.

5. In case of a mistake

A gluten-free diet is a learning process and not just for you, but also for your friends and family. During the gluten-free diet, mistakes can happen, especially if you have recently started the diet. If you eat gluten by mistake and you have coeliac disease, you will usually start to have symptoms after few hours from the moment you ate, and it can last from a few hours to several days.

However, it all depends on person, how much gluten you have eaten, how long you have been on a gluten-free diet and how sensitive you are. Having coeliac disease and eating gluten can damage your gut, but if you make the occasional mistake it’s unlike to cause lasting gut damage.