You may often see products in the market that bear the label “gluten-free”. There is no explanation or whatsoever in the packages of what this word means, but this is the manufacturers’ way of telling that their products, or any of the ingredients listed therein, do not contain gluten. As of today, there still are no guidelines or laws as to how manufacturers should label their products that are gluten-free This, then, leaves them the right to select words or phrases that they think is best to describe their products for the benefit of the consumers.
Gluten, by the way, is a kind of protein that is usually present in barley, wheat and rye, which is not safe for other people to eat because they are carrying a disease called celiac. The number of people with this disease is fast increasing, and this is the main reason why many manufacturers have already considered producing gluten-free products. Those with celiac cannot consume foods with gluten because it could destroy their intestines. If this disease is left unaided, this often leads to anemia, weight loss problem and abdominal pains.
This situation has triggered the rise of the gluten-free diet, which is intended mainly for celiac patients. For those suffering from celiac, it is very important to always read labels carefully. Take time to read all the ingredients stated on the products including all its components because you might encounter products that appear to be safe, but were actually manufactured in a facility that is known to produce various foods whose main ingredients contain gluten. Research is also needed in the process just to be sure that you are picking out the right products.
Since a lot people are already practicing a gluten-free lifestyle, many restaurants have also conceded to the needs of their customers. There are already those that have created special gluten-free menus. These restaurants are a big blessing to people who can’t eat anything they want as they can still enjoy dining out with their family and friends without worrying about the food they’re eating.
Aside from the people who have celiac, there are some people who have seen that this diet can also be an effective tool to lose weight, and so more and more are trying to adopt it. Resorting to a gluten-free diet has good benefits and it also has its bad side. The advantage of this diet is that people who decide to undergo this type of diet will be forced to eliminate foods that are unhealthy from their usual diet. According to studies, the risk of heart ailments and cancers will also be reduced. As for the bad effect, this certain diet, if not well-implemented, can lead to zinc and iron deficiencies.
Being gluten-free is good and, at the same time, bad. Good because it helps people achieve a healthy lifestyle. And bad because not everyone, especially those with the celiac disease, cannot perfectly deal with it. Probably the best advice I can give to people who are in a gluten-free diet is that “it pays to read labels”.