The gluten-free diet has grown in popularity primarily due to the number of people diagnosed with Celiac disease every year.
A simple blood test can detect antibodies suggestive of Celiac disease, but this isnâ€™t the end of the line.Â Some people receive a false negative reading.Â Regardless, an intestinal biopsy is required to diagnose the condition.
The gluten-free diet has grown in popularity among those who don’t have celiac disease. While most people who donâ€™t have clinically documented reactions to gluten donâ€™t completely avoid it, the benefits of following most of the diet restrictions can be surprising.
Why Those with Celiac Disease Go Gluten-Free
A strict gluten-free diet means no oats, wheat, rye, barley, or malt flavorings, and everything from soy sauce to fried chicken is off-limits because of one little protein. When people who have been diagnosed with Celiac disease follow this diet, they often experience relief of symptoms like intestinal discomfort, diarrhea, overwhelming fatigue, and muscle cramps. For these individuals, itâ€™s important to be cautious with food preparation and eating out is often more trouble than itâ€™s worth.
All utensils, dishes, and surfaces used in the making of gluten-free food have to be thoroughly cleaned, sanitized, and separated from the main preparation area unless the restaurant is a dedicated gluten-free facility. Fortunately, these strict limitations donâ€™t apply to people who just want to try a healthy diet.
Gluten-Free Benefits for Anyone
Basing your diet off of the gluten-free phenomenon can be genuinely healthy and may benefit your cholesterol levels, digestion, and energy level. You donâ€™t have to worry about the little things like soy sauce and malt flavorings, but if you avoid the major red flags in the gluten-free diet, you just might start to feel healthier. For example, you would have to avoid everything thatâ€™s fried because of the breading, which would allow you to avoid the oil and fat, as well.
Most desserts would be off-limits, decreasing your sugar and fat intake. However, healthy grains like rice and corn would still be in the mix, giving you the carbohydrates your body needs. With many of the over-processed starches removed from your diet, youâ€™d be likely to start eating more fruits, vegetables, meats, and dairy products in addition to healthy grains.
You would also be giving up most fast food (canâ€™t have those buns) except for salads, helping you to avoid even more grease, fat, and oil, but you could keep French fries on the list of deliciously unhealthy foods you would still be allowed to eat. Overall, you would consume less junk food and more fresh food, which is a healthy way for anyone to eat.
Editor’s note: Celiac disease is drastically under diagnosed in the United States. Estimates suggest that 1 in 250 people are affected by this condition though only 1 in 3000 are diagnosed with it. The ‘paleo’ or paleolithic diet is one example of a gluten-free diet that’s growing in popularity. Celebrities such as Gweneth Paltrow or Chelsea Clinton suggest that they experience health benefits such as increased energy levels as well as generally ‘feeling healthier.’