The gluten free diet is an eating plan which, if followed correctly, eliminates your consumption of gluten. Gluten is a substance found in wheat, barley, rye and even some oat products. It’s naturally occurring and gives dough its sticky texture and provides firmness to baked goods. Many people can digest this substance easily, but for others, it causes quite a problem. While there are some definite health conditions that require a GF diet, others choose to follow it for other reasons:
1. Celiac Disease
If you have been diagnosed with Celiac disease, then maintaining a strict gluten free diet is essential to your health. This is because gluten actually triggers an autoimmune response within your body. Over time, this autoimmune response can cause a whole slew of health problems. Fortunately Celiac disease can be easily managed by simply abstaining from any gluten consumption. It’s tricky and requires some effort on your part, but it’s so much better than taking medications.
2. Other Health Issues
Although the research is somewhat cloudy, the gluten free lifestyle can help people with other health issues. Rheumatoid arthritis, dermatitis herpetiformis, and conditions such as joint pain, memory loss and balance issues seem to respond well to a gluten free diet. If you suffer from chronic fatigue, a GF diet helps to alleviate your exhaustion. If you have health issues, try abstaining from gluten for about 4 weeks and see how you feel. If you feel any better, a GF lifestyle might be another way to help manage your health.
3. Low Carbohydrate Dieting
The gluten free diet, unless it is completely overtaken with substitute grain products, is a pretty low carbohydrate, low glycemic way to eat. Many people opt for this kind of diet plan to help with weight loss, cure sugar cravings, maintain an ideal weight, or curb carbohydrate addition.
4. Avoid Processed Foods
Until they eliminate gluten from their diets, many people are completely unaware of the ingredients in most of the processed foods they eat. By eliminating gluten, people become much more aware of the foods they eat and what each item contains. It forces you to read up on your favorite restaurants and products. In many cases, people following a GF lifestyle opt to eat in and bypass the fast food restaurants. Cooking from home is usually a much healthier option, no matter what your diet.
5. Learn New Alternatives
Following a GF diet not only increases your awareness of processed foods, it forces you to find alternatives to the tried-and-true foods you’ve eaten all your life. If you have only ever baked with wheat products, there is an entire world of alternative grains out there just waiting to be discovered. You can find a range of gluten free cereals, cereal bars, cookies and baked goods at your local health food store or online. These foods are a delicious and nutritious alternative to the typical processed products you may be used to.
A gluten free diet can be a great way to manage your health; in fact, if you have Celiac disease, it’s a necessity. It also makes you focus on what you eat and how it’s prepared. You’ll avoid processed foods and begin to eat low carb–both of which are great for helping you to lose weight. It can be a great way to learn more about your diet and your body!