Sabtu, 21 Mei 2016

Is Gluten Free REALLY Better


We look at what gluten is and if it is unhealthy, since more gluten free products are becoming available on the market currently.

What is gluten?

Gluten is the protein found in grains (especially wheat). It is what causes the elasticity of dough and gives things like bread its chewy texture. The name gluten comes from the Latin word for glue, because it helps to hold dough together as it is turned into bread. It is obtained by washing the starch out of flour and is also used to make synthetic meat products for vegetarians and add protein to their diets, since gluten is a protein.

Where does gluten come from?

Gluten is most commonly found in wheat. It also comes from other grains like rye and barley. Gluten is often found in bread, chips (crisps AND fries), beer, pasta, and many sauces, dressings and soups.  

Is gluten bad for you?

Gluten is not bad for you, unless you have Celiac disease, gluten intolerance or are allergic to wheat. 

Who shouldnt eat gluten?

People who have Celiac disease should not eat gluten. This disease makes the small intestine very sensitive to gluten, which leads to difficulty digesting food and inflammation (causing damage) of the small intestine when gluten is consumed. Gluten intolerance is a condition where the body has an abnormal immune response when gluten is broken down in the body. There are also people who are allergic to wheat, who should avoid all wheat and gluten products.

How do you know if you have Celiac disease?

 The number one reason that leads people to seek diagnosis is gastrointestinal stress after eating bread and other wheat products. It is recommended that you dont cut out gluten completely before seeking medical advice and diagnosis, because there have been reports of people who experienced gastrointestinal distress after eating gluten products, cut out all forms of gluten and then taken blood tests through a doctor to determine if they are gluten intolerant or have this disease. Because gluten has not been in their system, there are no gluten antibodies in their bloodstream, which blood tests should have detected in order to diagnose the disease. Seek professional medical advice before cutting out gluten completely in order to aid a more accurate diagnosis.

These are the signs that you might be gluten intolerant:

  • You experience gastrointestinal distress after consuming gluten products (like bread).
  • You have serious gastrointestinal problems often (like diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pain, or weight loss)
  • You experience symptoms of iron, vitamin B, and folate deficiency, because the small intestine is responsible for absorbing these nutrients and this disease affects this part of the intestine.
  • You have a family history of this condition, as it can be hereditary. 
Gluten free diets are used to treat people with this condition.

Are there people who shouldnt worry about gluten?

Yes. A gluten free diet is specifically designed for people who are gluten intolerant. If you are not gluten intolerant, then gluten is not bad for you, as long as you are not eating too much of it (like any food). Any food product can be considered unhealthy if it is consumed in too large an amount.

Are there benefits to going gluten free even if you are not sensitive to gluten?

Some scientists are concerned that those without gluten intolerance who follow a gluten free diet are missing out on nutrient rich foods and therefore might suffer from lack of important nutrients. 

There are many gluten free products now offered in supermarket stores, including products that would generally have gluten such as bread and pasta. Note that wheat free does not mean gluten free! If you are considering a gluten-free diet, consult with a dietitian to make sure that you still eat a diet that has all the necessary nutrients needed for optimal health, and that the foods you eat will be gluten free, since many products contain gluten, such as some vitamin products that use gluten as a binding agent.

Many people consider gluten free diets as a healthy choice, even if they are not gluten free. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Gluten free diets eliminate foods that are unhealthy. For example, processed foods often contain gluten. Choosing more natural foods that wont include gluten will include healthier options like fruits, vegetables and meats without sauces and marinades. Additionally, fried foods are also eliminated as the breading, coating and crumbing of these foods contain gluten.
  • By avoiding heavily processed foods, you are also avoiding the added chemicals like artificial flavoring, coloring, preservatives, stabilizers and enhancers.
  • As mentioned above, this forces people to eat more natural foods like fruit and vegetables that are unprocessed.
  • Other unhealthy foods are avoided like oils, pastries and sugars (sweets, candy bars, etc.)
  • By eating fresh, unprocessed foods, you are indirectly adding natural nutrients like antioxidants, fiber, minerals and vitamins to your diet that were previously lacking
  • Gluten free products on the market are usually a lot healthier than their gluten containing counterparts
It is possible to gain all these health benefits while still consuming gluten, by eating a large portion of fresh foods like fruit and vegetables and minimizing the amount of processed foods consumed. Eating fresh and as natural (least processed) as possible will yield the same health benefits.

A gluten free diet is not a must for people who are not gluten intolerant, and its potential health benefits can be obtained in a gluten-present diet by eating as natural as possible and eating a well-balanced diet. Stay Strong!

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