Celiac disease: Gluten-free foods are not equally healthy for everyone

Celiac disease: Gluten-free foods are not equally healthy for everyone



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Gluten-free food only healthy for celiac disease
People suffering from celiac disease (gluten intolerance) must avoid foods containing gluten. A wide range of products that do not contain any adhesive protein can now be found in supermarkets. Healthy people often use it too. But for them, a gluten-free diet can have disadvantages.

If your stomach hurts after eating some foods
If you get abdominal pain after eating bread, there is in many cases a certain form of food intolerance: up to one percent of the population in western industrialized countries suffers from gluten intolerance (celiac disease) or gluten allergy. Eating gluten causes inflammation in the small intestine and unpleasant symptoms such as stomach cramps and a bloated stomach. Celiac disease is difficult to diagnose because of the extremely variable symptoms. Symptoms that can occur range from digestive problems such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatty stools, nausea and vomiting, severe inflammation of the intestinal mucosa to psychological complaints such as depression. Only strict avoidance of the glue protein, which is found in many types of cereals and other processed foods, can help. If you have no intolerance, you should avoid gluten-free products because they can lead to weight gain.

Inflammation of the small intestine can have serious consequences
Celiac disease is a chronic disease of the small intestine, which is caused by a lifetime of intolerance to the gluten protein. In addition to the acute complaints, long-term impairments also arise. Because of the inflammation, the small intestine villi regress, which interferes with the absorption of nutrients and can lead to severe deficiency states. There is currently no healing therapy. Therefore, those affected have to eat a consistently gluten-free diet for life to avoid complaints and to avoid long-term consequences.

In today's "consumption paradise", a gluten-free diet is often not so easy, because the glue protein comes in many types of cereals such as Wheat, spelled, rye, barley and oats and is used in numerous other foods due to its good food technology properties.

The trend towards gluten-free nutrition comes from the USA

In the meantime, however, the industry has reacted and more and more products without gluten are being offered. "This is great and shows that awareness of the disease is increasing," said Bianca Maurer from the German Celiac Society. But this development also has a downside: “A trend towards gluten-free nutrition has spilled over from the USA. That is not to be endorsed, "adds the expert in an interview with the news agency" dpa ". Because for people without intolerance, giving up neither brings health benefits nor a slimming effect, rather some people would even take it, explains Maurer.

Minimum dose can cause discomfort

This is due to the fact that the products usually have a lower proportion of fiber and are drier due to the lack of glue protein - which is usually compensated for by more sugar and fat. In addition, the new food trend from the USA has negative consequences for the acceptance of "real" intolerance. "Those affected who are absolutely dependent on the gluten-free diet are no longer taken seriously," Maurer points out. An aspect not to be underestimated, because the disease should be taken very seriously. "It is assumed that an eighth of a gram of wheat flour can cause complaints," explains the expert.

Bone pain can indicate intolerance
If the disease is recognized and the diet changed accordingly, the symptoms usually disappear after a few days or weeks. No medication is necessary, and consequent damage must not be feared if the diet is consistent. "Within half a year to a year, the bowel is generally completely regenerated," continued Maurer. However, the problem is that, in addition to the classic gastrointestinal symptoms, celiac disease can also cause complaints that do not affect the intestine (extraintestinal symptoms).

"Who thinks of a bowel disease when it comes to bone or joint pain?" Iron deficiency, fatigue, fatigue, bone pain, difficulty concentrating and dry skin - this is why the intolerance is also called the "chameleon of medicine".

Clarify suspicion with the doctor
It can therefore take a while for the disease to be discovered. If there is any suspicion, a doctor should be consulted, who can give a first indication of antibodies using a blood test. For the final clarification, however, a gastroscopy and tissue sample (biopsy) from the small intestine are usually necessary. This is a relatively short procedure that a gastroenterologist carries out, explains Maurer. Despite the suspicion, those affected should not suddenly eat gluten-free, because then the diagnosis could possibly no longer be made, the expert warned. (no, ad)

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