Affecting about 1 percent of the U.S. adult population, celiac disease is a common disorder of the immune system that’s characterized by inflammation of the small intestines when gluten in consumed. People who suffer from celiac disease can’t eat foods or beverages containing gluten. If they do, their immune system will attack their small intestines with pro-inflammatory chemicals, which can lead to symptoms like bloating, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, weight loss and malnutrition.
If you suffer from celiac disease, you can avoid these symptoms by cutting gluten from your diet. However, you’ll want to avoid making the following mistakes when following a gluten-free diet.
Not Asking for a Gluten-Free Menu When Eating Out
Statistics show that the average American eats out about four or five times a week. As a celiac disease sufferer, you must choose your meals more carefully when dining out. Don’t just ask your server which foods are gluten free. Rather, request a gluten-free menu. Not all restaurants offer gluten-free menu. With increasing rates of celiac disease, though, tens of thousands of restaurants have jumped aboard the bandwagon by creating a separate menu for their gluten-free dishes.
Assuming a Little Gluten Won’t Hurt
The only way to completely eliminate the symptoms of celiac disease is to avoid gluten altogether. Even a small amount of gluten can trigger adverse digestive symptoms, so you need to cut this grain-based protein from your diet completely. The foods you eat and the beverages you drink must be completely devoid of gluten. Otherwise, you’ll expose your immune system to the allergen gluten, increasing the risk of digestive symptoms.
Overlooking the 5 Main Grains of Gluten
Gluten comes from a variety of grain-based proteins, though there are five specific sources that account for the majority of gluten: wheat, oat, ryle, barley and spelt. When shopping for groceries, check the nutritional label on foods you are thinking of buying to see if they contain any of these five grains. If you see any of these grains listed, put the product back on the shelf and search for a gluten-free alternative instead.
Assuming Salad Dressings Are Gluten Free
While gluten is typically found in the five aforementioned grains, countless other foods and beverages contain it, including salad dressings. Gluten is added to salad dressings for the purpose of extending its shelf life. It acts as a preservative, prolonging the shelf life of salad dressings as well as other foods. You can still consume salad dressing, but you should choose a gluten-free variety. Unless a salad dressing has a “gluten-free” label, don’t purchase it.
Choosing Unhealthy Gluten-Free Alternatives
Food companies have capitalized on the rise of celiac disease by producing and releasing countless gluten-free products. Unfortunately, not all of these products are healthy. Even if they are gluten free, they may contain loads of processed sugar, sodium and/or saturated fat. If your diet consists mostly of these unhealthy gluten-free products, you may experience other health ailments like weight gain, high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Focus on minimally processed gluten-free foods that aren’t loaded in sugar, sodium and/or saturated fat.
Here are some tips on how to choose healthy gluten-free foods and beverages:
- If possible, choose natural, non-packaged gluten-free foods, such as fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts.
- Avoid foods with sugar or high-fructose corn syrup listed as one of the top three ingredients.
- Beware of gluten-free foods and beverages with sugar substitutes. Even though they are sugar free, sugar substitutes have been shown to cause a myriad of health problems, some of which are the same as regular sugar.
Assuming All Meats Are Gluten Free
Being a grain-based protein, you probably wouldn’t expect to find gluten in meats. Nonetheless, countless meats contain gluten. Processed meats like meatloaf, meatballs and hamburger patties, for example, often contain gluten as binding agent. Gluten holds the meat together so that it doesn’t fall apart.
When shopping for meat, ask a salesperson which products are gluten free. He or she should guide you which meats are safe for your diet as a celiac disease sufferer. And remember, products labeled as “100% beef” may still contain gluten, so always ask for assistance when shopping for meat.
Not Drinking Enough Water
Everyone needs water to survive, but staying hydrated is particularly important if you suffer from celiac disease. Water improves digestion so that food can pass through the intestines more easily. If you have celiac disease, you may experience inflammation of your small intestines if you unknowingly consume gluten. The inflammation forces your small intestines to swell, restricting the flow of food as waste. But drinking plenty of water counters these effects to minimize the digestive symptoms associated with celiac disease.
If you’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease, contact Atlanta Chiro and Wellness today. We offer health and wellness services to help manage celiac disease and other disorders of the immune system.Share