Gluten free diets are becoming increasingly popular in the United States. Though some people choose to go gluten free for the added weight loss and digestive benefits, one in 133 Americans actually struggle with celiac disease, or a gluten intolerance.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, rye and barley. Some common foods that contain higher amounts of gluten include couscous, oats, cereal and bread.
Celiac Disease Symptoms
Much like IBS, celiac disease symptoms vary greatly. There are more than 300 different symptoms related to celiac disease, but these are the most common:
- Weight loss
- Mouth sores after eating products that contain gluten
- Changes in the menstrual cycle
- Bone loss
Should I Go Gluten Free?
For most people, a gluten free diet offers no benefits. However, if you have a gluten intolerance, living a gluten free lifestyle will greatly improve your quality of life. Here’s how to find out if you have a gluten intolerance:
- Have a full check up with your family physician
- Consult with an allergist and a gastroenterologist. An allergist will be able to tell you if you have an allergy to just wheat or all gluten products. A gastroenterologist will be able to diagnose you with celiac disease and other gastrointestinal diseases.
- If you are diagnosed with celiac disease, you should have a gluten-free diet. Visit a nutritionist for information on what to look for on food labels and how to continue to have a well-balanced diet while living gluten-free.