San Diego, CA (PRWEB) July 28, 2014
A January 2013 study published in "Gastroenterology" found that reduction of gluten intake in those who were self-diagnosed gluten-intolerant yielded little verifiable effect on patients.
Lisa Mittry, director of nutrition for San Diego health and wellness retreat VeraVia, recently released information explaining various gluten considerations for those who are unclear about the role gluten plays in their diet.
Mittry explains that gluten is a protein, found in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale. “This means that most breads and bread-like products (including crackers, cakes, pastas, croutons, and some tortillas) contain gluten,” she continues. Gluten is also used as an additive in other products, such as a thickening agent in soups and Asian sauces.
“For most people, there’s nothing wrong with ingesting gluten," she says. “But for some, gluten agitates their digestive system, leading to discomfort, bloating or in severe cases, celiac disease.”
Celiac disease is an auto-immune disease wherein the body attacks the small intestine due to the presence of gluten. Symptoms include anemia, skin rashes, dizziness, headaches, fatigue, acid reflux, joint pain, numbness in the hands and feet, or heartburn. However, a study conducted by experts at the Mayo Clinic and National Institute of Health estimated that up to 1 in 141 adults in the United States have the disease, but many have no symptoms and therefore go undiagnosed.
Celiac disease can be suddenly activated by events that are traumatic to the body, such as childbirth, surgery, viral infections, or emotional stress. The disease is detected through a blood test and is generally treated by adopting and maintaining a gluten-free diet for the rest of one’s life.
Some people claim to be gluten-sensitive (as opposed to completely intolerant) and report feeling better after reducing their gluten-intake.
Mittry continues, “For those with robust gastrointestinal health, ingesting gluten is not problematic. However, many health-conscious people want to reduce the amount of gluten in their diets and luckily, with a little knowledge and some slight adjustments to your shopping habits, there are many ways to adopt a reduced-gluten lifestyle that might make life easier on your GI tract and reduce a systemic inflammatory response.”
Mittry went on to provide a list of naturally gluten-free products such as eggs, beans, seeds, nuts, fresh meats, fish and poultry, fruits and vegetables, and most other dairy products.
Additionally, many companies have developed gluten-free alternatives to basics like pastas and breads. “However, if you want to reduce gluten and are trying gluten-free products, look closely at ingredients and nutritional information because some of these products can be loaded with saturated fat, sugar, or sodium – all of which come with their own health considerations,” Mittry says.
As a final caution, Mittry warns that many gluten-based products contain lots of beneficial nutrients that should not be eliminated from one’s diet. Therefore, those who are thinking of reducing or eliminating gluten in their diets should speak to a nutrition expert before adopting a gluten-free or highly gluten-reduced lifestyle.