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Gluten-Free Goes Mainstream: Demand on the Rise
Only a few years ago you had to research and find your local health food store to purchase gluten-free items. Not so anymore. Gluten-free products can now not only be found on the local grocery store shelves, but major manufacturers are including the terms and packaging of some of the mainstream products for adults and kids. Some may call this the latest in the food fad concept, but others are stating that it is a food fad this is actually just down right healthy. No matter what side of the fence you are on, the demand for gluten-free products is on the rise.
Gluten-free products were originally created for those that suffer from celiac disease. This is a devastating autoimmune condition that can cause the lack of the ability to absorb vitamins and minerals into the body and can damage the intestinal tract. Gluten is typically found in rye, wheat, barley, and any of the derivatives of these products. People that suffer from celiac disease experience symptoms including constipation, diarrhea, cramping, bone pain, anemia and migraines. The down side to the massive popularity of gluten-free products is the fact that celiac disease cannot be properly diagnosed without a biopsy of the small intestine and a blood test. Those that have not been diagnosed may suffer the consequences by not being aware of their problem as they add gluten-free products to their diets. The additional concerns from the medical industry is the fact that going undiagnosed, the disease can lead to other health problems including cancer of the gut, thyroid disease and arthritis.
A misconception about gluten-free is the fact that some are under the assumption that it helps to reduce weight. In fact, many of the gluten-free products are higher in calories, so these people are undermining any caloric direction by adopting a gluten-free diet. Another key area to note is that they are often higher in sugars and fats as well as many not containing the additional nutrients and vitamins as that of gluten product counterparts. However, gluten-free does have some incredibly positive affects, even for those that do not suffer from celiac disease, by offering better sleep at night, an increase in energy level, reduction of ‘brain fog’, and yes, even in some, weight loss.
The main message from nutritionists and medical providers is to maintain a healthy and natural diet. Some are concerned that people choosing gluten-free products are actually reducing the amount of grains in their diet, which could have a reverse reaction on their health. Making changes in a daily dietary pattern should always be discussed with your primary medical professional, especially if you are on any type of medication. In an effort to remain healthy it’s not always a good idea to jump on a food fad change, especially if it’s not necessary. It seems that gluten-free is a double-edged sword that could cause the lack of diagnosis for those that aren’t aware they have celiac disease and yet offer some uptake positives for those of us that don’t suffer from the disorder.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
|Healthy Diets6 Jun 2013|