More and more grocery stores are adding gluten free products to accommodate a growing number of customers adopting a wheatless diet. The shelves at Livonia Glatt Market include gluten free products for our customers’ dietary requirements. You may be wondering if you should ditch wheat products. Before you give up bread, beer and spaghetti completely, look at a gluten free reality to determine whether or not this lifestyle is for you.
ADOPTING A GLUTEN FREE DIET
Approximately one percent of people have celiac disease, an inherited autoimmune disease that damages the small intestine when gluten is ingested. According to a 2006 study, another .4 percent of people have a doctor-diagnosed wheat allergy that can trigger an allergic response in the skin, respiratory and gastrointestinal systems. According to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, as many as 18 million Americans have some non-celiac sensitivity to gluten.
An intolerance, allergy or sensitivity to gluten all necessitate adopting a gluten free, or minimal gluten diet in order to avoid the associated symptoms. Others without these sensitivities have started to go gluten free for health reasons. A concern over whether or not gluten is good for us has prompted the rise in gluten free diets, but gluten free doesn’t necessarily mean good health.
SHOULD YOU GO GLUTEN FREE?
If you have celiac disease or a wheat allergy, as your doctor can attest, you should likely adopt a gluten free diet. If you don’t have a gluten sensitivity, consider these factors when making your choice on whether or not to go gluten free.
Gluten free doesn’t always mean calorie free. Many gluten free versions of food can contain more calories than their counterparts in order to make up for the change in taste and texture that occurs when wheat is removed. That can mean more fat, more sugar and more sodium. Try adding in more fruits, vegetables and lean meats instead of gluten free versions of your wheat replacements.
Gluten free foods can be more expensive. For individuals with a gluten intolerance, price increases come as a necessary evil. Gluten free foods can be more expensive to produce due to special grains and procedures to avoid cross-contamination.
Your skin problems may clear up. One advantage to going gluten free comes in the potential for skin condition improvement. Many people with celiac disease have found their skin improves when ditching gluten. Skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema have also shown improvement with a gluten free diet.
Nutrient replacement may be necessary. Removing wheat, barley and rye from your diet means getting rid of gluten, as well as essential nutrients like iron, fiber, folic acid, zinc, vitamin D and more. Individuals with celiac disease remove gluten with the supervision of a dietitian and must be careful to make up the nutrients they’re missing. Signs of nutrient deficiency include mood change, constipation, fatigue, hair loss and weakness.
For individuals with gluten intolerances such as celiacs and wheat allergies, going gluten free may be the best move for their diet. If you’re considering a gluten free diet to become more healthy, you may want to consult with your physician and do additional research before diving in completely. While there are health benefits to going gluten free, there are also risks for individuals without specific gluten intolerances.
If you do decide to adopt a gluten free diet, you can find gluten free products, including premium produce and lean meats at Livonia Glatt Market in Los Angeles on Pico Blvd.
Fowler, Paige. 7 Things That Happen When You Go Gluten-Free. Prevention. September 28, 2015.
Klein, Sarah. 9 Things You Should Know Before Going Gluten-Free. Celiac.org. February 12, 2014.
Vann, Madeline. Who Really Should Be on a Gluten-Free Diet? Everyday Health. June 6, 2011.