Admin {{ oUser.name }} Logout Looking to lose weight? Try our FREE Calorie Counter » | Log In
Fitness Nutrition Forums

Here's What Gluten Does to Your Body

Gluten has a terrible effect on people who suffer from celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, and eating gluten could cause serious problems to these individuals as they're unable to digest it. But in recent years there seems to be a bit of a trend about going “gluten-free,” and people often feel this is a healthier option. But is it, really?

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein that can be found in wheat, spelt, barley, and rye. Some of the most recognizable foods packed with gluten are bread, processed meats, candies, desserts, pasta, and cereal. There are also many foods that have “hidden gluten,” which is why Medical News Today notes it’s important to always check the nutritional label.

According to Healthline, a 2013 study revealed that a third of the American population are trying to cut out gluten. This is needed for people who have celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and wheat allergy.

Celiac Disease is a Serious Autoimmune Disease

Celiac disease currently affects around 1 percent of the population, but can be more common in elderly people, Healthline reports. This condition is classified as an autoimmune disease because the immune system attacks the gluten in the body, as well as the lining of the intestinal wall. This could lead to intestinal damage and digestive issues, and because the body is unable to absorb nutrients it can result in anemia and other nutrient deficiencies.

Gluten Intolerance is Common

Although celiac disease is rare, gluten intolerance is becoming much more common. The publication notes that some people experience symptoms related to the consumption of gluten, although there is no clear way of diagnosing it.

The Relationship Between Brain Disorders and Gluten

Putting aside gastrointestinal health, gluten may also have an effect on the brain, because according to Healthline, in some cases gluten has either caused or worsened neurological illness. The most notable neurological disorder that could be, in part, caused by gluten is cerebellar ataxia, which causes problems with balance, movements, and talking.

But studies have also found that a gluten-free diet has benefited patients with schizophrenia, epilepsy, and autism.

Say Yes, or No, to Gluten?

So, the big question, should you eliminate gluten from your diet? According to LiveStrong, if you do not have any of the above health conditions, there is no evidence to suggest that you should eliminate gluten from your diet. In fact, it could be doing you more harm than good because these foods are often processed and high in sugar and fat. The publication also notes that they don’t always have the vitamins and minerals that gluten foods could have (like fiber, calcium, iron, and folate).

Medical News Today notes that many people are choosing a gluten-free diet because of the perception that it’s healthier, because of the increase in gluten-free options, and because many people have actually noticed that they feel better after eliminating gluten because they had a sensitivity to the protein.

[Image via Shutterstock]

{{ oArticle.title }}

{{ oArticle.subtitle }}