Today, more grocery stores are stocking shelves with gluten-free breads and pastas and restaurants are adding gluten-free options to its menus. You may be wondering what is gluten? We’re here to give you the skinny on a gluten-free diet and help you decide if it could be right for you.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a gluten-free diet is a diet that excludes the protein gluten, which is found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye. Gluten is known to cause inflammation in the small intestines of people with celiac disease, and for this reason doctors advise them follow a strict gluten-free diet to control their symptoms, such as bloating, excess gas and abdominal discomfort.
Still, many people are turning gluten-free even though they test negative for celiac disease. Why? Because they may have gluten sensitivity and find that cutting out the protein makes them feel better.
If you suspect your body can’t tolerate gluten, the first step is to get tested for celiac disease. If the test comes back negative, dietitians advise to try a gluten-free diet for one week to see if symptoms subside.
Just be careful because not all gluten-free products are healthy. In fact, many contain extra sugar and fat, so be sure to read the nutrition labels. Try choosing more fruits, vegetables, lean meat, and naturally gluten-free grains like brown rice and quinoa rather than buying prepackaged products.