What is gluten

What Is Gluten, What Food Is Gluten Free and Where Is It Found

Increasingly, products labeled “Gluten-Free” or “Warning, contains gluten” began to appear on supermarket shelves. He is credited with many harmful properties and is even advised to completely exclude it from the diet. However, much of what the media and advertisements are broadcasting is not true. Read about what gluten is, where it is contained, how and to whom it can be harmful or useful, read article.

What is gluten

Gluten is a group of proteins found in wheat and other grains. Gluten (translated from Latin “glue”) forms a porous adhesive structure inside the products, giving them elasticity. It is gluten that allows, for example, dough to keep its shape.
Gluten is also used today as a preservative. They are present in various sauces, yogurts, ice cream, beer, packaged juices, and even household chemicals, cosmetics.

The effect of gluten on the body

It is scientifically proven that gluten is dangerous for people with celiac disease. It is a congenital autoimmune disease characterized by gluten intolerance. It was for patients diagnosed with celiac disease that they initially began to produce products and cosmetics that did not contain this substance.

For a healthy person, gluten will not do any harm. On the contrary, there is evidence that gluten in food can be beneficial.

It contains 18 amino acids, vitamins A, E, as well as calcium and phosphorus.

Athletes and people leading an active lifestyle need this protein, as it gives the body substances that it is not able to produce on its own. Foods rich in gluten are quickly absorbed and energize a person.

Harm to children

What is gluten: harm to children

The exception is small children under 8 months of age. The fact is that manufacturers of various types of baby food use gluten in huge quantities to increase the nutritional value of the product.
However, for an unprepared toddler’s body, food rich in this protein can lead to digestive problems. Doctors recommend carefully monitoring the gluten content in the child’s diet and introducing complementary foods in small portions, starting at 6 months.

Gluten harm after 40 years

With extreme caution, you should eat gluten after 40-50 years. At this age, the small intestine, in which the gluten absorption process takes place, loses its sensitivity and with great difficulty assimilates the sticky structure of the protein. For this reason, discomfort may appear after consuming foods rich in gluten, and in extreme cases, age-related intolerance to the substance develops.

Gluten and pregnancy

What is gluten: pregnancy time

Pregnant women should be especially careful with their food choices. Oftentimes, foods high in gluten are on the list of restrictions during pregnancy.
Although there are no direct contraindications, it is believed that gluten affects the decrease in the protective functions of the mother’s body, which can provoke the development of diabetes mellitus in the child.

In addition, if you do not control the content of complex proteins in the diet, you can increase the risk of celiac disease. In recent years, the percentage of patients with this congenital disease has almost doubled.

Truth and myths about gluten

Myth 1: Dangerous for the brain

In many popular books on the dangers and benefits of various foods, the authors recommend giving up gluten, or rather, products containing it. These are all kinds of buns, sweets, fast food. The main argument: gluten provokes the onset of brain diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, for example. However, there is no serious concern that the reason lies precisely in gluten, and not in other components.

Myth 2: gluten worsens the skin condition

If you don’t have a gluten intolerance or allergy, then you have nothing to fear. It has been scientifically proven that protein cannot be absorbed through the skin, which means that it will simply be washed off along with the applied cosmetic.

Myth 3: Leads to obesity

It is known that unhealthy foods contain a record amount of complex proteins. Most of them are in wheat buns, which are used for the production of fast food. This food is harmful and high in calories in itself. And if you, for example, eat a couple of slices of whole-grain bread for breakfast, then obesity will not threaten you.

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Gluten intolerance

You can identify intolerance by observing your body and noting the following symptoms:

  • Digestion difficulties. Abdominal pain, flatulence, constipation, or diarrhea are noted after eating.
  • Irritation or “goosebumps” on the back of the hands.
  • Dizziness, tired feeling.
  • Infertility diagnosis for unknown reasons.
  • Joint pain.
  • Emotional and mental disorders.

Such signs do not at all indicate directly that you have an intolerance. To make a diagnosis, you should consult a doctor and carry out a series of tests. Usually, in medical practice, if there is a suspicion of celiac disease, genetic and histological tests, as well as an immunological blood test, should be prescribed.

If you have been diagnosed with celiac disease, then you need to avoid gluten-containing foods.

Today, there are many products on the shelves labeled Gluten Free. But if in doubt, then you should pay attention to the composition indicated on the package. Gluten can be referred to as modified food starch or hydrolyzed protein.

Foods high in gluten

What is gluten: foods high in gluten

If the small intestine is intolerant or sensitive to gluten, after consuming gluten-containing foods, discomfort in the abdomen and diarrhea may occur.

In higher doses, it is contained in several groups:

Beer, as well as all cereal-based alcohol (whiskey, vodka, and others). Gluten in these drinks is used as the main preservative and does not pose a danger to a healthy person.

Pasta and wheat bread. Wheat is a food that contains a relatively high amount of gluten. Therefore, people with gluten intolerance, pasta, and buns are categorically contraindicated.

Oatmeal and cereal. Oatmeal gluten is a valuable and healthy substance due to the amino acids and vitamins it contains.

Chocolate. Popular brands of chocolates and bars use very high amounts of gluten for flavor and texture. You should be more careful with the choice of sweets.

Yogurts. Natural yogurts contain a small amount of this protein, but if you prefer unusual yogurt products and mousses, then it is better to exclude them.

Sausages, semi-finished meat products. The composition of this category is overly saturated with gluten and various preservatives. That is why they taste, unlike homemade sausages.

By eliminating these foods, switching to a gluten-free diet, people with gluten intolerance syndrome can get rid of the unpleasant symptoms of the disease. Within a couple of weeks after starting the diet, they feel much better. This is because the intestines only get those foods (gluten-free) that they can process efficiently.

Gluten-Free Diet

What is gluten gluten free

Such Hollywood stars as Gwyneth Paltrow, Miranda Kerr, Miley Cyrus have been following a diet for many years and have popularized this in numerous interviews with various publications. In their diet, they include only those dishes that are gluten-free:

  • Rice, buckwheat, corn grits.
  • Meat, fish, poultry.
  • Milk.
  • Creamy sunflower oil.
  • Vegetables, fruits, berries.
  • Sugar, honey.

Another way to eliminate gluten from your diet is to eat protein displaced or replaced. Flour, bread, and other products marked with Gluten-Free can be found on the shelves of health food stores and simple supermarkets.

However, scientists are sounding the alarm, because eating a large number of such foods with an artificial protein structure is fraught with sudden weight gain and health problems. Manufacturers are forced to replace gluten with more sugars and complex proteins to make it similar in taste and texture to the original product. Therefore, a diet composed of at least half of such products is dangerous even for a person who is not allergic to gluten.

Research on the dangers of gluten

The increased interest in the nature and harmful effects of gluten on the body gives scientists a reason to conduct all new scientific research.
Some of them are associated with the effect of protein on the body of patients with diseases such as epilepsy and diabetes mellitus. Reducing gluten in their diet has been shown to help them manage symptoms more easily.

Other scientific investigations are carried out in the direction of treatment. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 1% of the world’s population suffers from celiac disease, and most are already born with this syndrome.

Celiac disease is a hereditary disease, which means that the number of patients with this diagnosis will only increase. However, research is already underway in the United States to develop techniques for treating gluten intolerances and allergies. Scientists at the University of Chicago have announced the release of the drug by 2026.

The main reason why the question arises about the possible harm of gluten to a healthy person is its excessive consumption of food and its high content in a number of products. After all, even the most useful and necessary for the body trace elements in large doses become poison.

 

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Brenda Elmers

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