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Managing Gluten Allergy

  • January 20, 2020
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Managing Gluten Allergy

Why are people enthusiastic about a gluten-free diet these days? For some, it is a fashionable way to stay healthy. For others, it is the only way to control their body's allergic reaction. What is 'gluten' after all? Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, oats, and rye. It is commonly used as a stabilizer and emulsifier in processed foods. How does one know if he/she is gluten intolerant? Gluten intolerance also known as ‘celiac disease’ has symptoms, that may be mild such as;

  • Abdominal pain and stomach upset
  • Bloating and gas
  • Fatigue and weakness

More serious ones include malnutrition, anemia, recurring weight loss, or a higher risk of developing gastrointestinal cancers. There is no cure for gluten intolerance, and a gluten-free diet is the only option. 

Following a gluten-free diet requires paying careful attention to food selections.

  • Avoid all products containing wheat, rye, barley and triticale (e.g., bread, pasta)
  • Read food labels carefully and check the source of seasonings or thickeners for gluten-containing additives.

Many gluten-free foods can be part of a healthy diet:

  • Grains like amaranth, buckwheat, corn, rice, quinoa, flax, soy or millets
  • Pasta, noodles, or bread made of buckwheat and kelp and flours made from potatoes, tapioca, and arrowroot.
  • Natural and unprocessed foods, and most low fat dairy products.

One needs to be watchful with this diet as they could be low in adequate iron, calcium, fiber, or B-vitamins or high on fats and sugar than the gluten-containing counterparts. Some clinical studies show benefits of the diet among people with no celiac disease, such as weight loss, improved gastrointestinal health, and athletic performance.

With a seemingly long list of foods to avoid, making a switch to a gluten-free diet may be a little difficult initially but not impossible to achieve.

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Disclaimer: Don’t follow any suggestions in this article without consulting a qualified doctor

Source:

  1. “Healthy Lifestyle, nutrition and healthy eating”: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/gluten-free-diet/art-20048530
  2. “8 Dietary Tips for Gluten Intolerance”: https://www.healthxchange.sg/food-nutrition/food-tips/eight-dietary-tips-gluten-intolerance