Just avoiding gluten in your diet does not guarantee that your diet is healthy. There are many side effects to be aware of when you change your diet to eating gluten free. For a personal one on one session with a gluten free expert in Broomfield to help support you on this path of possible side effects, contact Julie Jaramillo at [email protected] or www.transfigurewellness.com located in Broomfield, CO. Telephone sessions available if needed.
Weight Gain Possible
Many of us were gaunt and sickly before we were diagnosed with a gluten allergy. Damage to the villi that line the small intestine — a hallmark of inflammatory bowel diseases including: celiac disease, Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis — meant that food (and calories) couldn’t be absorbed depending on the degree of the allergy/disease. When the intestines begin to heal after some time on the gluten-free diet, the nutrients (and the calories) in foods can be absorbed. Even though we may not be consuming any more calories now than we did when we were eating gluten, it’s likely that we’re going to gain weight. In fact, hard as it may be to imagine for people who were too thin before their diagnosis, studies have shown an increased risk for obesity on the gluten-free diet. So, even though eating gluten free lends itself to eating more fruits and vegetables, many people will find gluten free cinnamon rolls, bagels and other products and find they’ve found heaven. Be cautious and careful with your food choices is important
Vitamin deprivation possible
Patients with newly diagnosed gluten allergy often have nutrient deficiencies. Gluten-free products are often low in B vitamins, calcium, vitamin D, iron, zinc, magnesium, and fiber which complicates the nutrient balance and status in your body. Few, if any gluten-free products are enriched or fortified with these nutrients. When Swedish researchers studied adult celiac patients who had been gluten-free for 10 years, half of the patients had vitamin deficiencies, including low levels of vitamin B-6 or folate, or both, and high levels of homocysteine (a risk factor for heart attacks, vascular disease, and strokes). Before the study, all the patients had biopsies to prove their intestines were healed and healthy, so these vitamin deficiencies could not be explained by malabsorbtion. Italian researchers have found similar deficiencies in gluten-free adolescents. When it’s time for an annual check-up, gluten free patients should ask their doctor whether their vitamin status needs to be measured, and whether they should be taking folic acid and vitamin supplements.
Cholesterol levels could rise
Before eating gluten free, not only are vitamins and minerals tough to absorb, but so is cholesterol, so you could have very healthy levels of cholesterol before changing your diet. Once you change your diet to eating gluten free and your intestines heal, you may need to keep a close eye on your cholesterol levels. When you check food nutrition labels for gluten, check the fat and cholesterol content as well. Packaged gluten-free products are often higher in fat than their gluten-containing counterparts because the fat adds as a way to bulk up the food (what gluten does) in replacement of gluten. This is especially true of packaged gluten-free cookies, crackers, and cakes. The American Heart Association points out that foods that are high in soluble fiber have been shown to help lower cholesterol — so look for beans, peas, rice bran, citrus fruits, strawberries, apple pulp, and gluten free oats.
Constipation or Diarrhea can be a visitor
If you replace the bread and pasta in your diet with only processed white rice, the low-fiber diet may lead to constipation. Conversely, if fiber-rich grains and beans are added to your diet in large amounts too quickly, you might develop gassiness and diarrhea.
Weight loss possible
Dietary changes to eliminate gluten-containing foods can also lead to a decrease in caloric intake and weight loss if the person tends to lean to more fruits and vegetables in their gluten free diet opposed to gluten free breads, pastries and baked items.
Don’t forget that you have a personal resource in Broomfield if needed. Contact me at [email protected] or www.transfigurewellness.com for gluten free and general health support in person or telephone sessions are available.
Have a Grateful and Delicious Day!
Labid, Nancy. “Gluten-Free Diet – Side Effects of the Gluten-Free Diet.” Celiac Disease – Gluten-Free Diet. Web. 21 Feb. 2011. <celiacdisease.about.com/od/medicalguidelines/a/DietSideEffects.htm>.