“Gluten free is a healthier option”, this is something that I hear every week and it seems that we are confused about gluten. Let me help out a little with that confusion.
If a product is marketing itself as ‘gluten free’ it has been produced to suit people who suffer from coeliac disease. Coeliac disease is a serious autoimmune disease which is estimated to affect 1 in 100 to 1 in 300 people in various parts of the world. It is not a food allergy or intolerance.
If a person with coeliac disease consumes gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye, their small intestine becomes inflamed and damaged and is unable to absorb other nutrients from food. This can cause a person to develop other health issues, such as osteoporosis and poor immunity if undiagnosed.
Gluten can be found in foods and drinks such as bread, cakes, pizza and beer and in processed foods like gravy, soups and sauces, chocolate and sweets. So yeah, all the stuff that tastes great!
Typical symptoms of coeliac disease include diarrhoea, constipation, bloating, anaemia, extreme tiredness and children failing to thrive and develop properly. If a child or adult suffers from coeliac disease and consumes gluten the consequences for overall health can be serious. Following a gluten free diet will allow the small intestine to repair itself and will help to avoid all those other health issues.
Some people choose gluten free options when shopping or eating out as they believe it is a healthier option as opposed to regular bread, wraps, cakes etc. If a person is not suffering from coeliac disease or non coeliac gluten sensitivity there is no evidence to suggest that this is a healthier food choice.
The best thing to do if you think gluten may be causing you problems is to consult your doctor before ruling out gluten from your diet. Treating the underlying cause will enable you to make smart food choice, live healthier and feel so much better!
If you do suffer from coeliac disease or non coeliac gluten sensitivity check out our wide range of Good4U snacks which are all natural and all gluten free. Not to mention unbelievably tasty!
Emma Brennan is a qualified Nutritionist and is a registered member of the Association for Nutrition (AFN). Emma attained her qualification in Human Nutrition from Ulster University, Coleraine. Emma has a passion for all things nutrition and health related and her mission is to educate the public about their health and wellbeing through her blogs, videos and nutrition tips online and through the Good4U Nutrition Service provided to schools, sports clubs and businesses.