Going Gluten Free – Trend or Necessity?!

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Nowadays it’s cool to be gluten free and whoever doesn’t have the medical necessity doesn’t even have to worry about cross contamination, hidden gluten ingredients or just ‘cheating’ whenever they feel like it. But what if you have severe gluten intolerance or coeliac disease? Things aren’t as easy then.

brown wheat in close up photography

First of all, eating gluten free is not healthier, if you are not in any way intolerant or sensitive to gluten!

If you want to eat healthier you should rather switch to spelt or other ancient wheat grains and go for sourdough bread instead of regular quick rise white bread. And of course wholemeal would be more nutritious. Modern wheat contains a lot of fructans, which are high in FODMAPs and can be difficult to digest, which might be causing digestive issues. A lot of packaged gluten free food has poor nutritional value, so switching to gluten free is not a good idea if you don’t have the need to do so. Gluten free breads are often packed with a lot of additives and are high in starch, which also means they might have more calories and less protein content.

If you still feel that there is something wrong after abandoning regular wheat and quick rise yeast products, then it is time to go to your doctor and have a coeliac blood test done. Anyone having IBS issues or wanting to go on a gluten free diet (including paleo and keto), should get tested for coeliac disease. There are many people out there who have coeliac disease but don’t know it. Many people suffer for years before finding out what’s wrong with them, a lot of doctors don’t know much about celiac disease, so they won’t guess that it might be coeliac disease just because they lack the knowledge about the atypical signs of coeliac disease in adults. Coeliac disease can have more than 200 different symptoms. It is estimated that 80 to 90 % of coeliacs remain undiagnosed. So if your blood test comes back negative you need to assess if there is suspicion to believe that there is something wrong with your body regarding the consumption of gluten. If so get an endoscopy for coeliac disease done, as only 95% of coeliacs have positive blood tests. If any of the tests come back positive, that would mean that you in fact have coeliac disease and the life long necessity to eat gluten free and avoid any trace amounts of gluten. If your tests come back negative, your lucky there might be nothing wrong with you, but still there is a possibility of a non-coeliac gluten sensitivity, but only if you do have reactions from gluten. There is no real test for non-coeliac gluten sensitivity! Non-coeliac gluten sensitivity is basically everything that isn’t coeliac disease or wheat allergy. It can be as severe as coeliac disease or milder, in which case you might be able to eat traces or small amounts of gluten, but there is barely any research, if it’s severe treat it like you would coeliac disease, maybe it even is coeliac disease in early stages.

So if you want to go gluten free just to try and see if it would make you feel better, go for it but don’t assume a week will make any difference you would need to try it for at least a couple of months to see if it makes any difference.

If you are a newly diagnosed coeliac or suffer from severe gluten intolerance, it takes about 6 to 12 months for the gut to heal completely! So it might take a while to feel better. Any gluten containing meal can cause damage to the gut and can take a long long time to heal again. Once you realize how poorly gluten makes you feel, it will get easier to avoid it. And don’t forget to always have some snacks on hand anywhere you go.

Many restaurants lack sufficient allergen labeling and allergy awareness, so it’s hard to eat anywhere else than home. Even if I find a restaurant with good allergen labeling, many dishes are just packed with allergens, so that the options get very slim, if there are any left at all, but without allergen labeling it just gets worse, because you might unknowingly poison yourself with gluten or other allergens and will suffer for weeks.

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