Armony in health 20 May, 2017 Isabel Vallejo
Of the different trends that have risen in maintaining a healthy lifestyle where healthy eating is a priority, eliminating gluten is one of the dietary trends that has gained momentum in the last few years.
But do you understand what gluten is and why people eliminate it from their diet? Gluten is the name given to vegetable proteins found in products made with flour, rye, barley or oats. However, it is also found in medications, vitamins and supplements. Because it is associated with wheat, bread in general is thought to have gluten; but gluten is a component that is found specifically in manufactured products.
Studies have shown that gluten is harmful to people who suffer from celiac disease, a condition that makes people sensitive to gluten and that can damage the small intestine of those who suffer from it. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “Symptoms can occur in the digestive system or in other parts of the body. While one person may suffer from diarrhea and abdominal pain, another may feel irritable or depressed. Irritability is one of the most common symptoms of this condition among children.” Symptoms can be different for each individual and some may not even show them.
In order to know if you have the disease you should see a specialist and preferably take blood tests that allow for a diagnosis. This will help you determine whether you should eliminate gluten from your diet and help you avoid the onset of problems related to being able to absorb nutrients and its possible side effects (such as anemia, osteoporosis and heart disease).
The problem is that gluten-free diets are becoming a trend that many people who do not have celiac disease are choosing to follow. The Celiac Disease Center at Colombia University in the U.S. has conducted the largest study to date on the elimination of gluten and how this affects heart disease. The study concludes that gluten is “… clearly harmful to those who have celiac disease,” in the words of gastroenterologist and director of the study, Benjamin Lebwoh. However, eliminating this protein is not beneficial to heart health, “In fact, [eliminating it] can be harmful, as grain seems to protect the heart from heart conditions.”
The study’s researchers emphasize, “Gluten-free diets should not be promoted with the objective of preventing heart disease among people who do not have the symptoms of celiac disease”.