Gluten is a hot topic these days, with a growing number of people opting to go gluten free. The explosion of interest in glucose free lifestyles has been extremely positive for those who suffer from Celiac disease and other forms of glucose intolerance. Unfortunately, it has also given birth to a great deal of misinformation.

Here are six key facts that everyone should know about gluten:

1.     Gluten is a protein composite that occurs naturally in many types of grains. Though it entered the human diet relatively recently in history (around 10,000 years ago, to be exact), scientific evidence has shown that the majority of people can eat and digest gluten without a problem. However…

2.     A significant portion of the population may experience some form of glucose intolerance. About one in every hundred Americans suffers from Celiac disease, which is an allergy to gluten. Celiac disease causes severe intolerance to gluten, and those who continue eating gluten products will experience inflammation of the small intestine. This ultimately leads to a range of digestive problems and an overall negative effect on well being.

3.     Celiac Disease is not the only cause of glucose intolerance. As much as one tenth of the general population experiences some form of gluten intolerance–which can range from mild discomfort after consuming large quantities of gluten, to a glucose intolerance as severe (or worse) than that caused by Celiac disease.

4.     If you suspect you have gluten intolerance, the first step you take should be to see a doctor. Self-diagnosis is never a good idea–especially when that diagnosis leads you to make drastic changes in your diet and lifestyle. Be sure to consult with a doctor before making such changes, as he or she will recommend tests for Celiac disease (which has effects beyond glucose intolerance) and help you take the appropriate steps to feeling better.

5.     Celiac disease requires a complete elimination of glucose from the diet. If you are suffering from certain forms of glucose intolerance, simply limiting your intake of gluten may be enough to improve your symptoms. This is not so for sufferers of Celiac disease. The destructive inflammation of the small intestine can be triggered by even trace amounts of gluten, which means the utmost care must be exercised. After all, trace amounts of gluten are sometimes found in other food products that have been processed in factories that produce foods with gluten, as well as in many over the counter medications. Fortunately, there are options–thanks to growing awareness of glucose intolerance, it is now possible to find a wide array of foods and medications that are certified gluten free.

6.     It is possible to remove gluten from your diet! Going gluten free requires some big changes to diet and lifestyle, as you will need to pay close attention to the ingredients of your food while also ensuring that you still receive all of the proper vitamins and nutrients. However, going gluten free is not impossible. As noted above, food and medication producers around the country (and the globe) are becoming increasingly aware of the demand for gluten free products–and they are responding with a more comprehensive selection of gluten free options!

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