Gluten: Is it beneficial or harmful? Here’s how you can find out
What is gluten exactly? And should you go gluten-free or not?
Gluten, to the untrained palate, sounds like the name of some medieval king whose exploits are long forgotten by now. In actuality, gluten refers to a group of proteins found in common grains like wheat, rye, and barley. And while you may think that gluten is something you can live without if you’re on a diet or suffering from an ailment like celiac disease, experts aren’t so sure that it’s as harmless as you might believe it to be.
The Myths and Truths About Gluten
Although people debate about whether gluten is good for them, you shouldn’t be one of them. After all, it can be hard to figure out if a medical condition you suffer from is due to celiac disease or simply wheat consumption. As a result, here are some of the most common myths and truths about gluten. Knowledge is power!
1. How frequently have you heard the term “gluten-free food”?
How often have you heard the phrase “gluten-free food”? How many times has it occurred to you to join the trend?
The gluten-free campaign is led by a group of fitness enthusiasts who are allergic to gluten. Gluten causes a variety of gastrointestinal issues in many people, which are harmful to their overall health.
While gluten causes allergies in some people, it has many health benefits for others. This naturally occurring protein, found primarily in grains, is a powerhouse of benefits that many human bodies cannot process. So, before jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon, there are a few things you should know about gluten and being gluten-free.
2. What’s the deal with the gluten-free craze?
Many people are unable to properly digest gluten, and as awareness has grown, people have gone gluten-free. Wheat is an essential component of our diet. “The wheat seeds that are currently being sown are hybrid.” “These seeds contain a lot of gluten and other proteins that the body cannot digest,” nutritionist Neha Ranglani says.
Gluten protein has been linked to several health problems. Celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and wheat allergy are all caused by gluten intolerance.
Celiac disease is the most common type of gluten-related problem. Here, the body’s immune system recognizes gluten as a foreign particle and attacks it, eventually attacking the gut linings. Because of the degradation of the gut lining, this can cause anemia, digestive issues, and an increased risk of many diseases.
3. What is gluten?
Gluten is a type of protein found in wheat and other grains. Wheat is by far the most common of the grains in which it can be found.
The name gluten is most likely derived from its glue-like consistency when mixed with water. That is why when wheat flour is mixed with water to make dough, it becomes sticky. Because of its glue-like properties, it is an excellent candidate for bakery use.
4. How do you know if you need gluten?
“It’s critical to understand your symptoms,” says Ranglani, adding that gluten intolerance can cause acne, hair loss, and even depression. “What you eat daily affects you,” she claims. “If you’re allergic to it, try something else,” she suggests.
Bloating is a usual symptom of gluten intolerance. If you experience discomfort after eating grains, keep an eye on it. Check to see if it happens on a regular basis, and if it does, cut gluten out of your diet.
Only after you've determined that you're allergic to gluten should you begin eating gluten-free foods such as quinoa, brown, black, or red rice, buckwheat, amaranth, millet, corn, sorghum, teff, and gluten-free oats.
5. Don't be fooled by the fancy names of gluten-free products.
Indulging in gluten-free trends at random will leave you deficient in all the essential nutrients that gluten contains.
Whole grains containing gluten contain fiber and nutrients such as vitamin B, magnesium, and iron. As a result, even if you are not allergic and are simply following the trend, you may end up deficient in these nutrients.
According to an old TH Chan Harvard School of Public Health report, the gluten-free food industry grew 136 percent from 2013 to 2015, reaching nearly $12 billion in sales in 2015. One of the main reasons for this boom was the widespread avoidance of gluten-containing foods. Many people had no valid reason to avoid regular gluten and simply saw it as a healthier option.
6. What are the health benefits of gluten?
"There is no food that is inherently bad," says fitness coach Yash Vardhan Swami, adding that because Chapati and bread are an essential part of our breakfasts, keeping them off our plates reduces the variety as well as the nutrients associated with them.
Gluten is commonly found in wheat, a grain that is abundant and widely consumed in India. So, if you cut down on gluten simply because it's trendy, you're losing one easy and a nutritious portion of your meal while gaining nothing.
According to one study, non-celiacs who avoid gluten may increase their risk of heart disease by consuming fewer whole grains.
Another study found that eating gluten-rich foods reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
It is also thought to be prebiotic that the gut microbiome feeds on. Changes in gut bacteria activity have been linked to inflammatory bowel disease, colorectal cancer, and irritable bowel syndrome.
If you are not allergic to gluten, you should not avoid it and should include it in your diet regardless of your health goals. It has no bearing on your fat loss or health objectives. Gluten is no longer an issue for most of us, Yash adds.
7. How To Replace Bread with Healthier Options
Though gluten can be good for you in small amounts, it has been labeled as something of a nutritional villain recently. Some sources say it makes your digestion sluggish and others claim that too much gluten has adverse health effects. If you're avoiding bread and other products containing gluten for health reasons, try these nutrient-rich alternatives to wheat. While you may miss some of your old favorites at first (like sandwiches and pasta), you'll soon learn to love these new favorites in no time!
About the author
My name is Anirban, and I'm from India. I'm an E-Book and article writer with plenty of expertise. Article writing, E-Book writing, report writing, academic writing, blogposts, and social media posts are among my specialties.