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What Is Gluten And How You Can Be Gluten-Free

Written by Dr. Shaun Murphy

Hey there, viewers! Have you tried a gluten-free diet? Your hipster friends just won’t stop talking about it. When you hear about a popular diet, it’s hard not to jump onto the bandwagon.

This is why more and more Americans are going gluten-free. In today’s article, we’ll be discussing what gluten is, and why you might want to go gluten-free.

What are some good gluten-free foods you should have? We’re talking all that AND more…You can find gluten-free products all around you. Whether it’s pizzas, cupcakes, vitamins, or lip balm.

As the number of people opting for gluten-free foods has increased, the production of these foods also has risen.

It’s no surprise that this particular food industry grossed over $15 million in sales back in 2016, and has only kept increasing since then.

Do you spend a fortune on gluten-free food? Which is your favorite? Sound off in the comment section, and start a conversation with our bestie community. The effects of gluten have been a topic of debate for a while.

A long-term study from 2017 showed no association between heart disease and gluten consumption. Another study in 2019 found that having gluten daily did not harm the colon in any way.

A few experts believe that gluten is beneficial for all people except those with celiac disease. Whatever you believe, it’s important to first understand

What is gluten in food

  • Gluten is a type of protein found in grains and cereals. Wheat, rye, barley all have tons of gluten in them.
  • Wheat is a more popular choice than the rest of these grains. If you were to study gluten, you would find two proteins inside, one carries all the bad parts of gluten.
  • So you can say this little monster is the root cause behind all your gluten issues. Gluten makes our food so good.
  • The soft and chewy texture of your bread and pasta are all thanks to this ingredient.
  • When you mix flour with water, the mixture becomes glue-like and sticky. This is where the name “gluten” comes from.
  • After the dough comes in contact with heat, the gluten proteins quickly form an elastic network to stretch out the trapped gas.
  • Now you know the secret of those delicious cakes. A few cuisines encourage the mixing of hot water in flour for maximum gluten effects.
  • You may not realize it, but this is a key selling point of many processed foods. It makes your food taste so much better.

Foods that are filled with gluten

Gluten can be present in both whole and processed foods. If you can’t tolerate gluten, it’s best to stay away from these foods.

1.Grains

  • Few grains are notorious for having loads of gluten in them. I’m talking about whole wheat, bran, rye, barley and so many more.

2.Processed foods

This is probably going to shatter some of your favorite meals. This includes bread, cakes, pastries, cookies, pasta containing wheat, pizzas, a few burgers, etc.

3.Beverages and liquid foods

  • Barley, malt beer, wine, vinegar, soy sauce, salad dressing, thick gravies, broths, soups& spices are all loaded with gluten.
  • Flour is used to thicken gravies, or as a stabilizer in other foods. The product may be gluten-free but still be contaminated with a tiny bit of gluten during its processing.
  • Just ignore these facts if you can live with a little bit of gluten. If you’re too sensitive, follow all measures to eliminate gluten from your diet. If you’re at the grocery store, and you’re confused about buying a product, feel free to look online.

4.Oats

  • Eating oats can be tricky. Oats are often transported and processed in the same equipment as wheat.
  • Wheat, which is full of gluten, leaves its remains behind on the processing equipment.
  • If oats are processed on the same equipment, they’re sure to get contaminated with gluten.
  • Do not buy oats that have no information about gluten on them. Manufacturers will make it a point to mention“gluten-free” oats, which are processed separately and are free of contamination.
  • With that said, a few experts believe there is nothing like gluten-free oats, even if the packet mentions so.
  • This is all because of a protein in oats called avenin. It’s basically the same as gluten.
  • Both of them have similar structures, and very few people with glucose intolerance show similar reactions to avenin, just like gluten.
  • Keep in mind that many people are actually gluten-free, and tolerate oats extremely well.
  • A lot of gluten-free diets tell you to incorporate oats, as they’re filled with fiber and give your body essential nutrients.
  • If you’re uncertain about where you stand in the oat game, talk to your doctor.
  • You might learn more about your immune and digestive systems, and rule out any suspected allergies.

What does a label really mean when it readsgluten-free?

  • This is important. As a customer, it’s hard to know what kind of processing the food’s put through before being packed. You’re probably unaware of the possible contamination taking place.
  • This is where food labeling steps in. Many government authorities require the manufacturer to label products if they’re gluten-free.
  • A gluten-free label doesn’t mean gluten will be completely absent from the product. The United States, Canada, and Europe strictly follow the “20 parts per million” rule, while labeling gluten-free products.
  • This would mean one million parts of that particular food may have up to 20 parts of gluten.
  • This was granted after studies showed that most people will not react to such small amounts of gluten.
  • However, there are a few countries that have set the bar as low as 3 parts per million. This will eliminate even the smallest of risks for the public.

Let’s look up a few conditions that requireyou to truly go gluten-free.

1.Celiac disease

  • With this disease, a person’s immune system becomes their own worst enemy. It’s labeled as an autoimmune disease for a reason.
  • The body itself starts to attack the cells of the small intestine after it’s ingested gluten. This disease affects 1% of people all over the world.
  • The reason for the celiac disease remains uncertain. While it is an autoimmune condition, your genetic makeup can be strongly responsible for it.
  • As a response to this disease, it’s best to go gluten-free. There are two methods to find out if you have celiac disease.
  • Blood tests and biopsies of the small intestine help doctors confirm the disease.

2.Non-celiac gluten sensitivity

  • This condition mimics celiac disease, but testing shows negative results for celiac disease or wheat allergy. The symptoms are reversed after you begin a gluten-free diet.

3.Wheat allergy

  • This condition is also closely related to gluten intolerance. If you have a wheat allergy, you can safely consume other gluten products like rye, barley, etc. without any side effects.
  • The wheat allergy will require you to stop eating foods that have wheat as a primary ingredient.
  • However, people having wheat allergies usually end up following a gluten-free diet, as both are closely related.

Common effects of gluten intolerant

symptoms vary from person to person, but these are the ones people experience the most.

1.Digestive disturbances:

  • Diarrhea, bloating, gases, abdominal cramps, pain, and constipation are commonly seen.

2.Skin disorders:

  • Eczema, inflammation, and rashes are also observed.

3.Neurological symptoms:

  • Fatigue, depression, difficulty speaking, confusion, and lack of focus are the top issues.

4.Other diseases like:

  • Malnourishment, weight loss, poor immunity, headaches, anemia, and osteoporosis are random conditions you might experience. Always remember to eat natural, wholesome foods over-processed foods.

Many gluten-free recipes and cookbooks are available to buy. A few gluten-free grains include rice, oats, quinoa, flax seeds, and more.

You can also try fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, oil, dairy, eggs, fish, and meat. Weight loss cannot be achieved by just going gluten-free.

There are obese people who eat gluten-free cakes, cookies, and bread and expect to slim down miraculously. A healthy lifestyle all-around will help you achieve this goal. Sleep has the power to restart your body.

Thank You.

About the author

Dr. Shaun Murphy