The gluten-free diet has been in the news almost as much as Kim Kardashian’s butt recently, and it seems like everyone has a different take on it. Some people go gluten-free because they have a gluten allergy, some opt for a gluten-free diet simply because it feels better, and then there are those who don’t believe a gluten allergy exists at all. So what’s the truth behind gluten allergies?
The good news is that gluten probably won’t make your genitals take flight like the South Park episode will have us believe. There is, however, a very real autoimmune disorder called Celiac disease that affects about 1% of the population. Those with Celiac are unable to process even tiny amounts of gluten, as it causes severe digestive issues, skin rashes, iron deficiency and even malnutrition. Celiac is genetic, and requires a blood test and often a biopsy of the small intestine to confirm a diagnosis. The only treatment for Celiac is a gluten-free diet.
Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity
Here’s where things get hinky: NCGS is the term coined for those without Celiac disease, but still have some level of gluten sensitivity. Tests for NCGS have been inconclusive, as it’s nearly impossible to tell what levels of gluten will affect whom, and if there are other dietary issues at play. And yet, there are plenty of people who swear that a gluten-free diet quells their stomach issues, helps them sleep better and leads to a healthier lifestyle in general.
Is a Gluten-Free Diet for Me?
If you experience stomach pain, bloating, gas, weight loss or any of these other digestive issues, go get tested for Celiac disease. If you test negative for Celiac, it’s possible you have NCGS and could benefit from a gluten-free diet. In that case, a gluten-free diet could improve your digestion, help lower cholesterol and increase your energy levels. Here are a few tips for staying healthy and gluten-free:
- Opt for non-processed foods whenever possible: Think lean meats and fruits and veggies
- Always read labels: Gluten can hide in lots of unlikely places
- Try quinoa: It’s packed with the fiber your body needs
- For protein, try whey protein: It’s low-fat and totally gluten-free – check out FemmePharma’s whey protein variety pack!
Are you gluten-free? Do you know anyone who is? Share your diet tips with us in the comments!