It seems every place that sells food now has gluten free options/alternatives. Which is really great especially for people who are really affected by gluten. What I'm noticing however, is that a lot of people opt for gluten free simply because it's a trend and it's there but have NO clue why they should avoid it!
I actually had a waiter once tell me "right on, low-carb." Wait.. WHAT?! Gluten free does not mean low carb! Processed gluten free foods actually often have HIGHER carbohydrate content than their gluten-containing counterparts. That experience inspired me to shed some light on this fad.
Let's start with a basic definition: what is gluten? it's a protein found in wheat.
Gluten sensitivity vs Celiac disease:
Sensitivity is basically when your body launches an exaggerated immune response to the gluten and if this continues, it contributes to continuous body-wide inflammation (which can lead to a leaky gut and then a whole slew of other stuff).
A person with Celiac disease has a much more serious and extreme immune response in that the body is attacking itself by destroying the lining of the intestines.
Basically, all people with Celiac disease have a gluten sensitivity but not all people with gluten sensitivity have Celiac's, make sense?
Who should definitely avoid gluten:
- Someone with Celiac disease
- Someone with a known sensitivity
- Someone with a known autoimmune disease
What foods have gluten: wheat, rye, barley, spelt, kamut, oats (unless it's specified as gluten-free)
**note: gluten is often hidden in alcoholic beverages that come from grains like beer, whiskey, gin, some vodkas. There's also gluten hidden in many sauces, condiments, dressings as it's usually in food starch, emulsifiers, stabilizers and artificial colorings that those items typically are made from.
Hope this provides some clarity!