Gluten in our foods
Gluten is a kind of protein that is found in crops such as wheat, rye and barley. Thus it finds its way to our diets through breads and oat dishes. Gluten is the reason that our pizza is so stretchy and the bread is so fluffy.
Gluten is very common in our diet but certain people are allergic to it. As soon as their body detects even a bit of gluten it sends its immune system into overdrive and after being done with the gluten molecules it starts attacking the small intestine and causes deficiencies and gastrointestinal problems. It is a genetic disease and was earlier thought to be very rare but recent studies show that it is fairly common and affects a lot of people globally. Thus, to take advantage of this opportunity companies have introduced gluten free food and they have been promoting gluten free diet for a healthier life. The truth of the fact is that people not suffering from the celiac disease need not necessarily adapt to a gluten free diet. People are tempted to try it out since they believe that having a gluten free diet will ensure weight loss. Companies which produce gluten free products use sugar and other additives instead of gluten to give them a good taste and texture. It will result in gaining weight.
There are a lot of people who are intolerant of gluten but due to a lack of awareness and diagnosis, it goes unnoticed. Here are a few signs that may help one identify if they have celiac disease or not.
- Repetitive diarrhoea
- Sudden and rapid weight loss due to no apparent reason
Those who are allergic to gluten need to be careful of what they are eating. Gluten is found in a lot of foods and sometimes is hidden behind different names or products. Some of the food which are free from gluten is given below.
- Different kinds of beans (kidney beans, soy beans, etc)
- Potatoes (including sweet potatoes)
- Rice (wild or brown)
- Flax seed
These are some of the things that are free from gluten.
Hidden gluten is found in various food products, especially in packed ones. Products may or may not be labelled as to if they contain gluten or not. One needs to go through the ingredient’s list to find out if gluten is present or not. If the list contains any rye or wheat derivative, then it is a hint that gluten is present. A thorough checking of the contents list is necessary to avoid any ingestion of gluten in any form.
Following a diet free of gluten by people who do not have the celiac disease is becoming a new trend. It is considered that it will result in weight loss, but there is no scientific study or proof that is does. One reason can be that to avoid gluten, people limit their choices since gluten is common in a lot of food and thus they eat less. But it also can affect people is a negative way too. Since gluten accompanies a lot of important vitamins and minerals and since they are unavailable, it may cause nutritional deficiencies.
So, to follow a diet without any gluten one needs to carefully plan and incorporate food that can balance out the absence of vitamins and nutrients. But it is strongly suggested that people who do not have the celiac disease or any intolerance towards gluten may not remove it from their diet.