Why Do People Follow a Gluten-Free Diet?
A gluten-free diet plan is most commonly associated with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine where the villi are damaged. Villi are responsible for absorption of nutrients into the body. Even ingesting a small amount of food containing gluten can result in damage to the intestines for those who suffer from this condition.
Others who may follow a gluten-free diet include individuals with:
- Non-celiac gluten sensitivity that produces bloating, diarrhea, abdominal pain and other related symptoms
- Gluten ataxia, an autoimmune disorder that affects certain nerve tissues
- Wheat allergies
What Gluten-Free Diet Plans Can and Cannot Include
Foods to avoid include the aforementioned grains, as well as oats, triticale (a cross between wheat and rye), beer and all foods containing flour from these grains. It is important to check the kind of flour used to make desserts like cookies, cakes and breads. Many manufacturers will add a label that specifically notes that the item was made via a gluten-free process. Anyone following a gluten-free diet plan should always read the label of packaged foods as many contain small amounts of gluten or are manufactured with machines that also process items with gluten.
Many other foods do not contain gluten and are compatible with this diet. Fruits and vegetables, lean meats, fish and poultry, eggs and most dairy products are acceptable.
Those following gluten-free diets must also be careful that the supplements they take do not contain this protein. Check out iHerb’s Gluten Free specialty store for gluten-free supplements, foods, bath and beauty items and more!