What is gluten, what is its benefit and harm, is it really worth it to completely be excluded from the diet, and what foods are in it, Cosmo reports.
Gluten is the word non grata on the menu of many Hollywood stars, remember the ardent opponent of the substance Gwyneth Paltrow. Or Miley Cyrus, who has been promoting the vegan and gluten-free diet for several years. And in the habitat of the “top” nutritionists from Instagram and neophytes who have just begun to observe a healthy lifestyle, the word “gluten” is a bit of a horror story. For them, the labeling “gluten free” has become more desirable than “natural” or “non-GMO”. Gluten-free foods are often on the diet, thinking that it’s impossible to get better. Yes, and you get only benefit from them. Therefore, the search for gluten-free alternatives to familiar products has become almost a mass hysteria.
But is the devil so terrible as he is painted? Does gluten really harm each of us?
What is gluten free?
Gluten is a sticky substance, the collective name of a whole group of proteins that are part of wheat, rye, barley and most cereals. This substance is found not only in all baking, but also in all kinds of food products made with the addition of wheat flour as a thickener - for example, in sauces, ketchups, sausages, sausages, semi-finished products, desserts and even ice cream.
Since gluten is similar in structure to glue, it is widely used to give the finished food an elastic structure. Most often we are talking about baking and desserts with flour, but gluten can be found even in your favorite milkshakes.
Gluten Free Products
Gluten content per 100 g of product:
Wheat flour (3 - 5 g)
Barley (barley) (2.2 - 2.8 g)
Rye flour (2 - 2.5 g)
Oatmeal (2 - 2.2 g)
Millet (1.5 - 1.7 g)
Spelt (0.3 - 1 g)
Moreover, in pseudo-cereal crops (buckwheat, quinoa, rice) there is no gluten.
A complete list of gluten-free products looks like this:
all kinds of meat;
Fish and seafood;
natural dairy products without additives;
all kinds of nuts and seeds;
all kinds of vegetables;
all kinds of fruits and dried fruits;
all kinds of berries;
legumes, soybeans, mung bean;
corn and cornmeal.
It is worth noting the fact that if there is no gluten in the meat, then it is most likely to be found in semi-finished meat cutlets, if the packaging does not have the label “without gluten”. This is because bread crumbs or breadcrumbs are used in their preparation. By the same principle, you can analyze other "ready-made" food products that you can find in stores.
Is gluten harmful?
Gluten in itself is not harmful and poisonous. Moreover, it is not even noticeable in anything and is needed only to ensure that products made from gluten-containing cultures are elastic and plastic. Gluten, it can be said, improves the structure of the dough and the quality of the bread.
Contrary to popular belief, gluten is not dangerous for most people. He can bring real problems only to those people who have an allergy to it or a genetic predisposition to celiac disease.
Acute gluten intolerance - celiac disease - is extremely rare. In fact, scientists say that only 1% of the population suffers from the disease (an average of 1 in 100-150 people). In such people, eating even a minimal amount of gluten or (up to one cookie) can cause serious food allergies. True with indirect symptoms, which often lead to inflammatory processes in the body.
In some people with genetic gluten intolerance, this group of proteins can cause an inflammatory reaction similar to a delayed-action allergy. Inflammatory lymphocytes enter the small intestine and linger in it. Gradually they displace her healthy villous lining, which is responsible for normal digestion. Subsequently, the absorption of nutrients is disrupted. This process is unhealthy, and it is called celiac disease.
In other people, an allergy to gluten may not manifest so sharply, so it is difficult to diagnose. To understand if you have celiac disease, you should take an allergy test (specifically for gluten). Usually, you may suspect celiac disease if you often have bloating, unstable stools, and a markedly reduced level of hemoglobin and iron.
Is gluten dangerous for people not suffering from celiac disease?
The simpler the protein, the less often the reaction and allergy to it. And gluten is a fairly simple protein. Therefore, gluten intolerance in healthy people is rare. Most often, it can be detected in children. It can detect such specific signs of an allergy as eosinophilic gastroenteritis, erosive gastritis and other gastrointestinal ulcers. However, the protein itself is the very last reason that causes such conditions.
Sometimes gluten intolerance develops in adults. As a rule, it is temporary and is a consequence of certain diseases and certain conditions of the gastrointestinal tract. Recent bacterial and viral infections, intestinal dysbiosis, and acute gastrointestinal diseases can affect the appearance of temporary gluten intolerance. Viral infections often cause complications to the pancreas, the organ that secrete digestive enzymes. As a result, the body begins to cope worse with those products that previously did not cause problems. In this case, we are talking about gluten-containing food, since it is difficult to digest it.
After the recovery period, however, a temporary allergy to gluten most often disappears if the disease has not caused severe damage to the digestive tract.
Gluten intolerance can also develop if you consume excess amounts of food containing this protein.
What conclusion can be made? To check if gluten is harmful to you, go to an allergist and take the necessary tests. You can also temporarily exclude foods that are high in gluten. But do not abandon it forever, if there are no prerequisites for this.