Science

Celiac Disease Aside, Is Gluten-Free Diet Worth Trying?

By Enozia Vakil , May 11, 2013 09:57 AM EDT
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From banana-milk diets to detox diets, there's isn't a single day when the tabloids don't scream of new and improved diets, which supposedly help you get healthier and fit. Enter the new kid on the block; gluten-free diets, which has given rise to an emergence of a multi-million dollar industry of gluten-free foods.

Initially, gluten-free foods were recommened only to those suffering from celiac disease; an auto-immune disease which affects digestion, nutrient absorption and a number of other vital body processes. 1 in every 133 people are thought to suffer from celiac disease, making it fairly common, making the need for new treatment options to arise.

Gluten, which is probably the most famous protein in the world today, may actually work as a posion for people suffering from celiac disease. Individuals having a genetic predisposition to celiac disease have a greater risk of developing the disease, if they live on a diet largely based on gluten.

"While the only treatment for celiac disease is a gluten-free diet, the good news is, once the diet is started, the road to recover begins, and people with celiac disease can lead long, healthy lives," registered dietitian and nutritionist Rachel Begun said in an academy news release.

"Managing celiac disease is not just about eliminating gluten from your diet. It also entails ensuring you get all the vitamins and nutrients your body needs, such as iron, calcium, fiber and B-vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folate," she explained.

Incidences of celiac disease, gluten intolerance and other related conditions are on a rise worldwide, statistics reveal.

A major amount of gluten gets into our bodies through our breads, as gluten is exactly what makes the bread chewy and soft.

Practically anything and everything in our diets today has a good amount of gluten, right from pastas and breads to beers and drinks. Salad dressings, chicken, meats, soy sauce, dried fruits and yogurt too, all contain a certain amount of gluten, which is why, we tend to take in more gluten than required, and much more than our ancestors did.

One good way to start with avoiding gluten-rich foods is to look for healthier alternatives to everything. Swap a burger for an apple, a pasta serving for a fresh home-made yogurt fondue with vegetable sticks, and so on.

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