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Celebrities including Rachel Weisz, Elizabeth Hasselback, Zooey Deschanel and now even [Link Removed] are going gluten free. The latest food fad – or could going gluten free really be good for your health?

A protein found in grains including wheat, rye and barley, gluten gives elasticity to baked goods, helping them to rise and keep their shape and also resulting in that chewy texture we associate with freshly baked bread. Gluten containing food tastes good – pizza, croissants, bagels – who can argue that? But, research is starting to show that gluten found in food may not be very good for us. In its most severe form, individuals who are gluten sensitive develop Celiac disease, an immune disorder that can result in bloating, diarrhea, fatigue and a host of other health problems including osteoporosis and internal bleeding. Once diagnosed with Celiac disease, you must avoid all gluten containing foods to reduce the risk of severe health problems such as:

•Type 1 diabetes
•Autoimmune thyroid disease
•Autoimmune liver disease
•Rheumatoid arthritis
•Addison's disease, a condition in which the glands that produce critical hormones are damaged
•Sjögren's syndrome, a condition in which the glands that produce tears and saliva are destroyed
Even if you aren't diagnosed with Celiac disease, you may have a milder gluten sensitivity or intolerance, which causes symptoms including skin problems, headaches, brain fog and pain.

What The Experts Say

Some experts caution against going gluten free just because it seems that everyone else is doing it. They maintain that vitamin and mineral deficiencies will develop if your alternate diet isn't well planned. Or that you may gain weight, choosing to fill up on gluten-free versions of breads, cakes and cookies that are loaded with starches, sugar and fat. Whole grains (gluten containing or not) are a source of vitamins, minerals and fiber. However, if you're giving up gluten to feel better, the hope is that you'll steer towards healthier choices including more fresh vegetables, fruits and lean proteins. If that's the case, you'll get more than your fair share of the recommended daily allowances of essential nutrients, including plenty of fiber.

On the other end of the spectrum, meet Dr William Davis. A doctor who practices preventive cardiology in Wisconsin, Davis contends that it's not just gluten, but wheat itself that is detrimental to health.  Modern day wheat has been [Link Removed]
Is Gluten Free Right For You?  

Some health professionals maintain that over 90% of gluten sensitivity (whether Celiac disease or intolerance) is undiagnosed! If you think that you may be one of those individuals you may want to ask your doctor to test for Celiac disease. If tests come back negative, consider an elimination diet to help determine if you have a sensitivity. Give up all gluten containing products (anything with wheat, rye or barley) for a few weeks and gradually reintroduce them to see if you experience any side effects.

While the thought of giving up your morning toast may sound alarming, think again. Gluten free products have come a long way. Supermarkets shelves are stocked with breads, pizza crusts, cookies and cakes. If you're a baker, then the internet is loaded with sites that will help you create the perfect flour blend for your favorite treats. Of course, you could just forgo baked goods in general and load up on vegetables instead. Your waistline will thank you and your health may improve.

Let us know. Are you gluten free?

Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti aging skin care and women's wellness. She owns and operates an online skin care store at [Link Removed]
For a limited time, Fabulously 40 members save 5% off all purchases. Code fab40 at checkout.

Pharmagirl, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.

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