The Gist on Gluten

 

 

Most of us know someone that is following a gluten-free diet and have seen the huge emergence of gluten-free food items in the grocery store. But what is gluten and is a gluten-free diet actually healthy? Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye that can trigger an immune response causing damage to a person’s small intestine - a condition called Celiac Disease. People with this disease aren’t able to absorb as many nutrients from their food and may suffer from anemia, diarrhea and a handful of other problems. Therefore, the only way to treat Celiac Disease is with a gluten-free diet. But what about the average joe like you and me? Should we be avoiding gluten? No. Unless you have Celiac Disease or a gluten sensitivity, gluten is not harmful. Some health claims state that going gluten-free will help you lose weight. This may be true if majority of your diet comes from baked good and large portions of wheat-based foods like pasta or bread. You will probably lose weight if you cut that out however, many gluten-free products have more sugar and fat. Bottom line? Unless you have Celiac Disease, just focus on consuming an overall healthy diet while keeping portion size and moderation in mind.

For more information, contact Sherrie at sherrie@kidneyhi.org

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