Gluten-free diet is becoming more popular every year. Many celebrities sit on it, and nutritionists around the world sing odes to it. Why everyone is so afraid of gluten and whether it is really better to give it up — in our material.
What is gluten
Let’s start, perhaps, with the basics. Gluten (also called gluten) — it is an insoluble protein formed by two others — gliadin and glutenin. It is responsible for the elasticity and softness of the dough and practically does not dissolve in water. The main and main source of gluten is cereals. However, due to the properties of gluten and cheap technology of isolation from grain, it is often added to other seemingly gluten-free products.
It is well explained what gluten is and what consequences it can lead to in a short educational film prepared by a scientist and animators for the TED-ed project.
What is harmful to gluten
The fashion for a gluten-free diet is quite difficult to explain. It can be called causeless rather than based on any reasonable arguments. After all, initially such a nutrition program was developed for people suffering from gluten intolerance, and was one of the forms of treatment of the disease.
Some of us do have gluten intolerance, which can be expressed through allergic reactions or a disease called celiac disease. According to the latest research, the percentage of sufferers from the mentioned disease in no country in the world exceeds 1%. However, one or another reaction to gluten can be observed in almost every third person, but it is still impossible to call it dangerous for health.
The danger of gluten lies, firstly, in the inflammatory reaction that it excites in the body, namely in our intestines. Once inside, gluten begins to provoke the immune system, which, reacting to the protein as a foreign one, begins to fight it, putting our body under attack. Secondly, people with gluten intolerance have changes in the work of the intestines. He stops properly digesting food and misses useful substances, leaving us without many essential vitamins and trace elements.
Both causes together lead to a sharp decrease in appetite, a deficit in body weight and height, intestinal disorders, exhaustion, a decrease in general well-being, irritability, and in some children even to a delay in puberty. Only a doctor can determine gluten intolerance by conducting an extensive study of the gastrointestinal tract. It is impossible to identify and diagnose the disease independently, since the totality of such signs is a reflection of quite a few diseases.
Is it possible to lose weight by giving up gluten
Weight loss on a gluten-free diet is not due to the absence of gluten in the diet, but rather to the rejection of flour as its main source. So yes, by giving up baking and its varieties, you will really lose weight, but you should not hope for weight loss by simply switching to a gluten-free diet.
Where is gluten contained
As we have already said, the main source of gluten is cereals. Accordingly, all their derivatives, namely pastries, pasta, some alcoholic beverages, including beer and whiskey, are rich in gluten. Do not forget that gluten is also added to many other foods that at first glance may seem harmless from this point of view. For example, today gluten is added to yoghurts, ice cream, chocolate, syrups and sauces, including ketchup and mayonnaise, sometimes to powdered milk, as well as to most products from industrially processed meat, for density and stringiness: sausages, sausages, cutlets and so on.
Where exactly is gluten free
There are quite a lot of such products. Firstly, they include all kinds of meat and fish, eggs, potatoes, rice, corn, various legumes, nuts, fruits and vegetables. Dairy products and cheese made from natural ingredients and without the use of milk powder are also allowed if the diet is followed.
By the way, today there are even gluten-free flour products. Usually this property is clearly highlighted on the label. The main thing with gluten intolerance is to carefully read the composition of the products.