The terms “gluten sensitivity” or “gluten-free” are much more common these days, and with good reason. More and more people are reacting negatively to gluten –in other words, having a bad immune response after eating foods that contains gluten. Gluten sensitivities are nothing new; they’re just better understood and as a result, are being diagnosed more.
Here’s a look at what gluten is, where it’s found, signs you may have a sensitivity, and how to manage it by going gluten-free.
What Is gluten?
To set the record straight, gluten is not a bad thing; Gluten is simply a composite of two proteins (gliadin and glutenin). In nature, it’s found most commonly in field grains, such as wheat, barley, and rye. It is considered a useful source of protein, whether in its natural form or used as an additive in the food-manufacturing process. Most recently, gluten has been used as a stabilizing agent in a myriad of foods, such as ketchup and ice cream. Don’t always expect to see it on an ingredients list, however. If it’s used in the manufacturing process, it’s often not mentioned on the label of the product.
What is gluten sensitivity?
Most people can consume and digest gluten with no adverse effects, but a growing percentage of the population is sensitive to the protein and should be on a gluten-free diet. These people may have mild sensitivities or may have celiac disease — a small-intestine disorder relating to the autoimmune system. After a sufferer of this disease eats a product containing gluten, an inflammation of the bowel tissue will occur. After prolonged inflammations, the person will experience flattening of the small intestine’s lining, leading to problems with absorbing the nutrients in food. This is when going gluten-free is a necessity for better living.
What are the signs and symptoms?
People with gluten sensitivities and celiac disease can display a multitude of symptoms, which is why this health problem is so underdiagnosed. Symptoms can include everything from constipation to diarrhea, and bowel pain and cramps are often common. Many people with celiac disease are often misdiagnosed as having irritable bowel syndrome as the symptoms are similar. Chronic fatigue is perhaps the most common sign, and it makes sense since you’re not absorbing enough nutrients to keep your body running at its peak, so you feel worn down. Other symptoms include weight loss and anemia.
On Tuesday, May 22nd @ 6pm, our Nutrition Educator, Kiara Oberhaensli will be presenting a cooking demo/seminar: Going Gluten Free. Join us to learn the basics about gluten and foods containing gluten; The effects of gluten on body systems; Gluten free alternatives and easy gluten free recipes.
For more information or to register: (407) 355-9246