Is Gluten Bad for You? What Moms Need to Know
Gluten, a family of proteins found in wheat, barley, and rye has become a hot topic of discussion amongst health-conscious parents. Many people are wondering if gluten is bad for you and if so, why? In this blog post, we will dive into what gluten is, how it affects people differently, and why some moms may want to consider avoiding gluten for their families.
What Is Gluten?
Gluten is a mixture of proteins found in wheat and other grains, like barley and rye. It gives dough its structure which gives bread its soft chewy texture.
Gluten is also used as a thickening agent in many processed foods. It is common in foods such as bread, pasta, cookies, cakes, and other baked goods.
Is Gluten Bad for You?
Whether or not gluten is bad for you depends on a number of factors. Keep reading to discover what these factors are.
Celiac Disease or Gluten Intolerance
People with Celiac Disease or Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity should avoid gluten. Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disorder that can cause intestinal damage. Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity, on the other hand, refers to a gluten intolerance.
When someone who has been diagnosed with celiac disease consumes gluten, their immune system attacks and damages their small intestine. This leads to an array of unpleasant digestive symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea, or abdominal pain. It can also cause other symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, joint pain, or fatigue.
If people with celiac disease continue to eat foods that contain gluten, it can lead to what is known as leaky gut. Leaky gut is an increased intestinal permeability that allows partially digested food particles, bacteria, and toxins to cross, or leak, into the bloodstream. This can lead to inflammation in the body and may even lead to other autoimmune conditions.
Therefore, even foods with trace amounts of gluten should be avoided if you have celiac disease.
Unlike celiac disease, gluten intolerance is a condition where a person experiences symptoms when eating gluten-containing foods, but generally does not have damage to the small intestine. Symptoms may include gastrointestinal symptoms, such as bloating, abdominal pain, nausea, and diarrhea, as well as other symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, joint pain, depression, and brain fog.
Therefore, it is recommended to avoid gluten-containing grains if you have a gluten intolerance.
It is important to talk to your doctor if you have symptoms that you think may be related to eating gluten.
Other Health Conditions That May Benefit From Eliminating Gluten
A gluten-free diet may help people with other conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, may also be improved by taking gluten out of the diet. Since gluten has the potential to cause inflammation in people with these conditions, it is recommended to try a diet without gluten to see if it improves symptoms.
If you have an autoimmune form of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis, you may benefit from taking gluten out of your diet. This is because gluten may cause inflammation in the body, including in the joints, for people with gluten sensitivity.
Should I Avoid Gluten?
Even if you don’t have celiac disease or do not have any health reasons to avoid eating gluten, a gluten-free diet is a popular choice for a number of reasons. Many people believe that going gluten-free improves overall health.
For example, some people find that going gluten-free may help them lose weight and have more energy. Others find it may clear up brain fog, improve skin conditions, or promote digestive regularity.
Additionally, removing gluten from your diet may help you to eat healthier. When cooking or baking with gluten-free ingredients, you will use healthier flours that provide additional nutrition. For instance, when making bread with almond flour, it provides the nutritional benefits of eating almonds. Plus, eliminating gluten may encourage you to eat more whole foods, including fruits and vegetables.
A word of caution: not all packaged foods labeled as gluten-free foods are healthier. Many of the packaged gluten-free products are still highly processed and may have added sugar and fat. So checking food labels is important.
Cooking food from scratch with whole food ingredients is generally the healthiest option.
How Hard Is It To Eat Gluten Free?
Many people think gluten-free diets are challenging to stick to. However, the emergence of gluten-free products in recent years has made following a gluten-free diet much easier.
Thankfully, it has now become common for gluten-free foods to be labeled as such.
If a product does not contain the “Gluten Free” or “GF” label, it is important to read the ingredient label. There are many foods with gluten that you may be surprised about. For example, many sauces, salad dressings, and seasonings contain gluten.
If you are considering giving up gluten, there are many gluten-free foods and ingredients to provide you with many options to choose from. There are many gluten-free recipes available as well.
All in all, whether or not moms should reduce their family’s intake of foods containing gluten ultimately depends on each family’s individual needs and preferences.
There are many health conditions that may be improved by going gluten-free. It may also provide other benefits, such as having more energy and clearing up brain fog. Removing gluten from your family’s diet may help to improve health for the whole family.
There are many delicious and healthy gluten-free foods available, so following a gluten-free diet is easier than ever before.