Some diets recommend cutting down on bread, pizza, cookies and cake to reduce carbohydrate intake, but there can be other good reasons to avoid glutinous grains.
Imagine eating food almost constantly and dying of malnutrition—that’s a fair description of what happens to people who suffer from a severe allergy to the protein gluten called Celiac Disease.
Gluten causes inflammation in their small intestines. It prevents absorption of nutrients needed to stay healthy. Those afflicted may become anemic, diabetic or arthritic. In extreme cases, cancer may occur and even death.
Glutens are common in wheat, barley, rye and other grains. Those who develop this allergy may be genetically predisposed to it. It is most common among Caucasians and individuals of European ancestry, and women are more likely to be affected than men.
For anyone with Celiac Disease, avoiding beer, bread, cake, pies, cereals, crackers, pastas and the like is essential. Grains that do not contain the protein gluten include corn, rice, buckwheat, quinoa and tapioca, among others.
Replacing white bread sandwiches with corn tortilla wraps is just one example of how to establish a Gluten-Free Diet. Eating more gluten-free foods, such as fresh meats, fish, poultry, vegetables and fruits, is highly recommended, too, as is substituting wine for beer.
Oddly enough, this is not greatly different from what’s suggested in many healthy food regimens, including the Paleo diet. Eliminating glutens helps to reduce cholesterol levels. It can also aid in digestion and increase energy levels. Weight loss is another potential side benefit.
On the downside, eliminating glutinous grains from your diet also precludes access to the abundant nutrients they contain, such as fiber and iron. If the gluten-free foods you choose are not fortified, it may be necessary to add other nutrient-rich produce or take supplements to make up for them.
A sensibly balanced diet is always best, of course. If you do not have Celiac Disease, reducing gluten intake rather than completely eliminating it is the surest path to health and wellness.
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