The gluten-free diet consists of a diet that avoids gluten , a protein found in wheat, oats, barley and rye, and which can also be found in other products such as medicines, vitamins or supplements. Generally, adaptation to this diet occurs for medical reasons , such as celiac disease , non-celiac gluten sensitivity, wheat allergy . A gluten-free diet can also be followed as a measure to lose weight, although in this case it is not indicated due to the consequences it may have for health.
Celiac sufferers suffer from an immune system disease for which they cannot consume gluten because it damages their small intestine. The symptoms of celiac disease vary depending on the person and can range from diarrhea and abdominal pain to the psychological feeling of irritation and depression. This pathology is genetic and its diagnosis is made by means of a blood test and by medical analysis of a small sample of tissue from the small intestine.. The only treatment for this disease, which affects 1 percent of adults worldwide, is to follow a gluten-free diet, that is, free of wheat, oats, barley, rye, spelled, triticale and / or products derivatives such as starch, flour, bread or pasta.
Non-celiac gluten sensitivity
Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is a disease with multiple symptoms that usually improve when adopting a gluten-free diet, after celiac disease and wheat allergy have been ruled out.
Sometimes a wheat allergy is a valid medical reason to follow a gluten-free diet.
Gluten-free slimming diet
This type of diet has been popularized by some celebrities, however, experts do not recommend this type of diet as a form of healthy eating or to lose weight due to its possible negative effects on health.
Symptoms of gluten intolerance
In the case of children, these usually present symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, low weight or growth problems, among others, which makes gluten allergy easily detected. Adults, on the other hand, generally present a more discreet symptomatology with symptoms such as slight diarrhea, weight loss, anemia or constipation .
In addition they can also present signs such as a propensity for bruising or nosebleeds, tiredness, itchy skin, hair loss, mouth ulcers, absence of menstruation , muscle cramps or intolerance to other nutrients such as lactose.
Tips to get started on the gluten diet
Doctors warn of the great importance that people who suspect that they are celiac and therefore decide to adopt a gluten-free diet previously perform an intestinal biopsy that demonstrates intolerance to it. According to experts, starting this diet without having confirmed this suspicion may mean delaying or masking the diagnosis of a possible celiac disease.
A person who has confirmed their gluten intolerance must strictly follow a gluten-free diet throughout their lives , since the slightest ingestion of this protein could cause injury to the intestinal villi. Furthermore, these injuries will not always manifest themselves through clinical symptoms.
The person diagnosed with gluten intolerance will have to completely rethink how they shop and cook. To facilitate this change, nutritionists recommend organizing the menu according to the following foods, in addition to writing a shopping list.
Gluten-free food shopping list
- Fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Meat: fresh beef or pork, fresh poultry, fresh fish or shellfish, and eggs.
- Dairy: unflavored milk , cream, cured cheese, some yogurts, butter, margarine, cream cheese, cottage cheese, and sour cream.
- Frozen foods: plain fruits and vegetables, some ice creams and sorbets, frozen gluten-free waffles, etc.
- Some snacks: French fries, corn tortillas, popcorn, rice crackers, rice cakes, nuts, seeds, jelly, and pudding.
- Packaged and canned: natural fruits and vegetables, canned tuna or chicken, beans and lentils.
- Cereals and grains: cream of rice, semolina, rice flakes, brown rice or white rice and some corn pancakes.
- Some condiments: jellies , jams, honey, peanut butter, corn or potato starch, some corn and maple honeys, molasses, brown sugar, white or icing, spices and herbs, salt, pepper, sauces, pickles, olives , tomato sauce, mustard, distilled vinegars and most of the salad dressings.
Fish and vegetables are suitable for those who must follow a gluten-free diet.
What is the gluten-free diet?
The gluten-free diet consists of avoiding any product that has wheat, oats, barley, rye, spelled, triticale and / or derived products such as starch, flour, bread, pasta, etc., as an ingredient.
Foods that may contain gluten include sausages, pates, melted, spreaded, grated or sliced cheeses, canned meat and fish, especially if they have sauces, sauces, coffee substitutes, chocolate and cocoa , roasted or fried nuts, candies and sweets, and ice cream.
The celiac person will be able to take any type of food that does not contain gluten in its origin: meats, fish, eggs, milk, gluten-free cereals (rice and corn), legumes, tubers, fruits, vegetables, vegetables, edible fats and sugar.
First of all, experts recommend that when in doubt as to whether a product contains gluten or not, the person who follows a gluten-free diet on medical indications chooses to discard it.
The person who has to follow this diet will have to take maximum precaution when consuming manufactured products because, according to specialists, reading the label of the product at the time of purchase is not an entirely safe measure. Although the current legislation obliges to specify the botanical origin of the flours, starches, starches, semolina and any other derived from the cereals, wheat, oats, rye and triticale used, this can be confusing.
When purchasing processed and / or packaged products, the person who adopts this diet will have to verify that none of the following appear in the list of ingredients on the label:
Gluten, cereals, modified starches (E-1404, E-1410, E-1412, E-1413, E-1414, E-1420, E-1422, E1440, E-1442, E-1450), starch, starch, fiber , thickeners, semolina, protein, vegetable protein, protein hydrolyzate, malt, malt extract, yeast, yeast extract, spices and aromas.
In addition, nutritionists recommend avoiding bulk and artisan products altogether, as well as those that are not labeled and where ingredients cannot be checked. They also recommend taking caution when handling food in bars, restaurants and school canteens, and consult the way of preparation and ingredients in each dish, before consuming them.
Experts also advise people with gluten intolerance to avoid frying gluten-free foods in oils where gluten-containing products have been previously fried, as well as to eliminate wheat flour and normal breadcrumbs to use flour and breadcrumbs instead. gluten-free or mashed potato flakes to coat, pack, bread or thicken sauces.
Finally, specialists indicate to take maximum precautions with imported foods, since the same manufacturer may use different ingredients for a product that is marketed under the same brand name, according to the different regulations of the countries.
What happens if a celiac person ingests gluten?
For a person diagnosed with celiac disease, the gluten present in food becomes toxic and causes damage to the intestine, where it creates an autoimmune response that generates inflammation and deterioration of the mucosa. These damages decrease the absorption of essential nutrients and can cause nutritional deficiency . In addition, in the event that the diagnosis is delayed or the gluten-free diet is not followed, celiac people may suffer complications such as decreased bone density , autoimmune disorders , iron deficiency anemia , unintentional weight loss , folate and vitamin B12 deficiency or various types of colon cancer or intestinal.
Why avoid gluten if there are no symptoms?
Some people who are gluten intolerant do not have symptoms, however, if blood tests and intestinal biopsy show that the person is gluten intolerant, they will be in danger of suffering the same complications as any other celiac if they do not undergo a gluten-free diet.