Oprah’s “21-day cleanse” this summer has an interesting element that is catching on at colleges and all across the country. Her cleanse eliminated meat, dairy, caffeine, sugar, and Gluten. Gluten-free diets are sweeping the nation as awareness increases about its possibly harmful effects. True gluten intolerance is known as celiac disease and it is on the rise in America. In 2003 just 40,000 people were diagnosed, that number has now risen to 110,000 today. It is estimated that the number of all cases of gluten intolerance would total more than 3 million Americans if they were all reported.
So what is Gluten? It is the protein part of wheat, rye, barley, and other related grains. In those with celiac disease, gluten injures the lining of the small intestine. This can result in weight loss, diarrhea, gas, bloating, abdominal cramps, or vitamin and mineral deficiencies. When gluten is eliminated, the lining of the intestine is allowed to heal.
It is difficult to remove gluten from the diet. It is surprising how many foods involve preparation using grains. It is easy to eat gluten without even knowing it. If you are determined to have a gluten free diet for an extended period of time, it is recommended to consult a dietitian to make sure you approach this wisely.
Signs of possible gluten intolerance are important to consider if you are suspecting that you might have a problem. Common symptoms are frequent constipation, frequent diarrhea, unintended weight loss, unexplained fatigue, frequent headaches, bone or joint pain, tooth enamel defects, mouth ulcers, itchy skin lesions, anemia, and frequent bloating. Go to celiacdiseasecenter.org for more information on indicators of celiac disease.
If you are considering a gluten-free diet it can be difficult to find the proper protein and nutrients to supplement the elimination of all products that contain gluten. It may be difficult to find good sources of protein, vitamins and minerals. A safe and natural way to increase your protein would be to use a gluten-free whey protein supplement. You need to be very selective to make sure that you choose a whey protein supplement that is gluten-free. This is the most efficient way to boost protein because a good whey protein isolate supplement contains 90% protein and amino acids, which provides energy directly to your muscles. It will help you to build lean muscle to increase your metabolism so that your body will naturally burn fat.
A gluten-free diet may require a good multivitamin to also boost your intake of essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B12 and vitamin D. Vegetarians are often deficient in vitamin B12 because it is a common vitamin in many meats. Vitamin D is produced naturally with proper exposure to the sun, but in many areas, this can be difficult. A multivitamin is a great safeguard against improper nutrition when you’re trying to make sure you have all of the essential elements of a healthy diet.