benefits and harms, gluten-free diet and myths about gluten

“But there’s gluten in there!” — exclaims a thin and sonorous young lady, bare­ly see­ing a cup­cake or a pack of pas­ta. And then any per­son who is far from fash­ion­able diets will think about what this strange gluten is.

We decid­ed to find out what gluten is, why it is harm­ful and why many avoid it, pre­fer­ring a gluten-free diet. We also learned about the most pop­u­lar myths about gluten and will tell you about them too.

Gluten: what is it

Gluten, or gluten, is a plant pro­tein found in most cere­als. This includes wheat, rye, oats, bar­ley. It is thanks to gluten that flour, when mixed with water, turns into dough.

Gluten has no taste or smell, but when pure gluten is dilut­ed with water, it becomes gray­ish and has a sticky tex­ture.

Benefits of gluten

For most peo­ple, gluten does­n’t make any dif­fer­ence: it’s one of the pro­teins found in more than just baked goods.

Gluten in its pure form is added to sauces, dairy prod­ucts and even cos­met­ics to make the prod­uct more vis­cous and thick­er. If you have noticed how cooks add flour to liq­uid sauces, then you have noticed the use of gluten in home cook­ing.

Gluten does not harm a healthy per­son in any way. More­over, if you stop eat­ing foods con­tain­ing gluten, you can seri­ous­ly harm your­self. How­ev­er, it is also worth remem­ber­ing that the exces­sive con­sump­tion of cere­als and pas­tries, to the detri­ment of oth­er food prod­ucts, has not yet brought any­one to good. Every­thing should be in mod­er­a­tion.

Harm of gluten

The excep­tion was the 1% of peo­ple on the plan­et who real­ly should switch to a gluten-free diet because they have celi­ac dis­ease or celi­ac dis­ease. This is an autoim­mune incur­able dis­ease in which foods con­tain­ing gluten can­not be eat­en cat­e­gor­i­cal­ly.

There are also peo­ple who show signs of gluten intol­er­ance. They should also refrain from eat­ing foods con­tain­ing it.

Signs of gluten intolerance:

  • Gas­troin­testi­nal: nau­sea, bloat­ing, diar­rhea, con­sti­pa­tion, abdom­i­nal pain;
  • weight: sud­den weight loss or vice ver­sa — addi­tion;
  • hor­mones: sleep dis­or­ders, PMS, irreg­u­lar peri­ods, weight prob­lems;
  • CNS: con­cen­tra­tion prob­lems, anx­i­ety, insom­nia and fatigue, depres­sion, migraines;
  • skin, teeth and nails: rash­es, brit­tle­ness, itch­ing, caries, hyper­sen­si­tiv­i­ty, stom­ati­tis;
  • ane­mia, short­ness of breath, arthri­tis, pale skin.

If you notice these symp­toms in your­self after eat­ing foods with gluten, and they sub­side imme­di­ate­ly after elim­i­nat­ing them from the diet, it is worth get­ting test­ed.

Myths about gluten

There are many myths about gluten that mil­lions of peo­ple around the world believe.

Gluten caus­es flat­u­lence and bloat­ing.

Not real­ly. If you do not have celi­ac dis­ease, gluten will not cause bloat­ing and flat­u­lence, unless you eat a whole loaf in one sit­ting.

Gluten equals obe­si­ty.

Again past the check­out. Gluten is found main­ly in baked goods and pas­ta, as they are made from cere­als. No one else, eat­ing uncon­trol­lably flour and rich, has not lost weight. Don’t blame gluten for some­thing that an unbal­anced diet can do just fine.

Any­thing gluten free is health­i­er.

Actu­al­ly not real­ly. If you suf­fer from celi­ac dis­ease, then any­thing gluten-free is real­ly health­i­er. But if you don’t have gluten intol­er­ance, then there’s no point in look­ing for gluten-free lip­stick. There is no sci­en­tif­ic evi­dence that gluten-free foods are actu­al­ly health­i­er.


Gluten Free Diet Do’s and Don’ts

If you still decide to switch to a gluten-free diet, or at least dras­ti­cal­ly reduce its con­sump­tion, just in case, you should remem­ber the list of prod­ucts that con­tain it and that do not.

Sources of gluten:

  • wheat;
  • rye;
  • oats;
  • bar­ley;
  • deriv­a­tives from them (bread, pita bread, beer, etc.).

In addi­tion, it is worth tak­ing a clos­er look at some of the inscrip­tions on the pack­ages. Gluten is added to most prod­ucts in its pure form. This is sig­naled by such notes in the com­po­si­tion as:

  • mod­i­fied food starch;
  • hydrolyzed veg­etable pro­tein;
  • tex­tured veg­etable pro­tein.

Gluten Free Products:

  • meat, fish, poul­try, seafood;
  • nat­ur­al dairy prod­ucts;
  • fruits and veg­eta­bles, berries;
  • flax seeds;
  • mil­let;
  • buck­wheat, rice, corn, pota­toes, soy­beans, mil­let, quinoa, ama­ranth.

Arguments against

Why is it impos­si­ble to com­plete­ly refuse prod­ucts with gluten if you do not suf­fer from celi­ac dis­ease? There are a num­ber of argu­ments against:

  • Cut­ting out whole grains means cut­ting out fiber, impor­tant vit­a­mins, and nutri­ents (cal­ci­um, pro­tein, iron).
  • Unscrupu­lous man­u­fac­tur­ers use the gluten myth to boost sales of their prod­ucts. If you are nei­ther cold nor hot from gluten-con­tain­ing foods, you should not exclude them from your diet.

Always con­sult with doc­tors and nutri­tion­ists before try­ing out a trendy way of eat­ing for your­self.

Pho­to: Unsplash

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