Wheat Belly? Do You Have a Gluten Sensitivity?
Wheat Belly? Do You Have a Gluten Sensitivity?
Gluten free diets have become a trend lately in the fitness world. Some think that removing gluten from their diets will give them an automatic advantage and a superhuman edge on weight loss. This may be true for some, actually most people, but why remove gluten unless you need to?
We all love bread. Come on.. who doesn’t love a yeast roll or cheesy breadsticks or even just a slice of whole wheat toast? If you don’t have an intolerance to gluten, there’s really no reason to avoid it. Restricting yourself will ultimately give you undesired results in the long run. Whole grains including gluten provide us with essential vitamins and minerals that we don’t get from other foods. Eliminating a whole food group that your body needs, never has a good outcome. One day, you’ll go on a super carb binge and eat all of the gluten-containing foods that you’ve been depriving yourself from. So why not just include healthy portions of your favorite gluten derived foods into your meal plan.
About 1% of Americans have Celiac Disease and they are not able to digest gluten at all. It causes numerous health problems; therefore, they should completely eliminate it from their diets. The gluten-free products sold on the health food aisles in stores, or in health stores are catered to those with Celiac disease. Also, for those of you whom seem to have a problem digesting gluten, it can make or break your diet. What gluten can also do is bring your weight loss to a complete halt. It has many undesirable side effects if your body is unable to process it correctly. What is gluten exactly? And what foods contain it?
“Gluten (from Latin gluten, glue) is a protein composite found in wheat and related grains, including barley and rye. Gluten gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape and often gives the final product a chewy texture.” (Wikipedia)
Foods that include gluten:
- triticale (a hybrid of wheat and rye)
You must also be careful when trying processed foods. Most labels contain a warning that will tell you whether or not the food contains gluten or if it was produced in a factory with gluten.
Gluten Intolerance (Celiac Disease) is when your body doesn’t properly digest gluten. You can have a gluten sensitivity also, where you cannot tolerate gluten and experience symptoms similar to those with celiac disease but yet who lack the same antibodies and intestinal damage as seen in celiac disease. These two are not to be confused with a gluten allergy, which causes an immune response. If you have a gluten allergy, it will show up positive with allergy testing.
If you notice a few strange symptoms in your body, especially after coming off of a diet that was gluten-free and the only thing you changed in your diet was adding whole grains containing gluten, you may have a sensitivity. This is a good way to see if gluten is the thing causing your symptoms. Go on a diet eliminating gluten for a few days, see how your body responds. Then add gluten, changing nothing else, and see if it makes a difference. If you experience some of the symptoms listed below, it may be beneficial to try avoiding gluten.
Symptoms of Gluten Sensitivity:
- chronic diarrhea or constipation
- persistent gas and bloating
- abdominal pain that occurs after eating foods that contain gluten
If left untreated, these issues could lead to intestinal damage that makes it difficult for the body to absorb nutrients, causing malnutrition.
- physical pain throughout the body
- unintended weight loss
- persistent fatigue
- pain or swelling in the joints
- and muscle aches or cramping
- feeling tired after eating gluten-containing foods
- brain fog and difficulty concentrating
If the person continues to consume gluten despite experiencing these symptoms, they could eventually begin to experience anxiety, depression, persistent irritability or mood swings as a result.
Meal planning without gluten can become a bit challenging for some, especially if you enjoy gluten containing foods and you accustomed to eating a large variety of them. Lucky for us, there are endless alternatives to gluten sold in just about every grocery store. The Web is full of gluten free healthy recipes. The only downfall is that it might be more expensive to eat gluten free. So, if you want to try avoiding gluten. Stick to the foods labeled gluten free or go with the foods listed below:
Foods made from grains (and grain-like plants) that do not contain harmful gluten, including:
- Corn in all forms (corn flour, corn meal, grits, etc.).
- Plain rice in all forms (white, brown, wild, basmati, enriched rice, etc.).
- Amaranth, arrowroot, buckwheat (kasha), cassava, flax, millet, quinoa, sorghum, soy, tapioca and teff.
- Flours made from gluten-free grain, nuts, beans and coconut.
Annatto, glucose syrup, lecithin, maltodextrin (even when it is made from wheat), oat gum, plain spices, silicon dioxide, starch, food starch and vinegar (only malt vinegar might contain gluten). Also, citric, lactic and malic acids as well as sucrose, dextrose and lactose; and these baking products: arrowroot, cornstarch, guar and xanthan gums, tapioca flour or starch, potato starch flour and potato starch, vanilla.
The following foods:
- Milk, butter, margarine, real cheese, plain yogurt, most ice cream without gluten-containing add-ins.
- Vegetable oils, including canola.
- Plain fruits, vegetables (fresh, frozen and canned), meat, seafood, potatoes, eggs, nuts, nut butters, beans and legumes.
- Distilled vinegar is gluten free.
- Distilled alcoholic beverages are gluten free because distillation effectively removes gluten. They are not gluten free if gluten-containing ingredients are added after distillation, but this rarely happens.
- Mono and diglycerides are fats and are gluten free.
- Spices are gluten free. If there is no ingredient list on the container, it contains only the pure spice noted on the label.
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