The gluten-free diet eliminates gluten-contained foods including wheat, barley, rye, and spelt. Gluten is a protein and key component of wheat, often used in baking goods such as bread. Barley is often found in sweeteners produced in cereals, candies, and or alcoholic beverages. The diet is followed by those who have the autoimmune disorder, Celiac disease, and those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity, but also has become popularized with benefits of weight loss or curing acne. Gluten consumption for those with Celiac disease suffer from the immune system attacking their small intestine lining, which can cause nutritional deficiencies, anemia, osteoporosis, or even cancer if left untreated. A gluten-free diet might also benefit people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis by lowering inflammation levels, according to a medical study in 2008. The diet may also alleviate symptoms for those who suffer with osteoporosis, iron deficiency anemia, and pregnancy risks.
Opting for the gluten-free diet can be tedious as it requires effort to exclude food that is often consumed in the American diet. Examples of gluten-free foods include corn, nuts, seeds, rice, quinoa, legumes, fruit, vegetables, dairy, cheese, meats, etc. Of course, products that are gluten-free will label itself as “gluten-free.” Durum, einkorn, emmer, kamut, and spelt are varieties of wheat to be avoided. Enriched flour, farina, graham flour, self rising flour, and semolina are all wheat-processed flours that should be avoided. It’s important to source and integrate nutrients such as fiber and vitamin B, as these nutrients are scarce in gluten-free foods. On the downside of a gluten-free diet, there may be risks of nutritional deficiencies, constipation, and limited options for eating out. Overall, the diet can also lead to improved health and weight loss.