Gluten is a type of protein found in the cereals like wheat, barley, rye. It helps in providing shape, elasticity, and moisture in the preparation of foods like- bread, noodles, cakes, pizza. Gluten also acts as a flavoring, stabilizing, and thickening agent in the production of certain food items. It is used as a binding agent in some medicinal tablets also. People use gluten as preservative and colorant in ketchup, ice creams, lip balms, etc. Although gluten has been vastly considered to be an addition in a healthy diet, however, there are numerous reasons people are going for gluten-free foods. A gluten-free diet is generally prescribed in the treatment of specific medical ailments like celiac disease, wheat allergy cases, hypothyroidism, and weight loss. A gluten-free diet is also claimed to be helpful in the treatment of autism. The fact though is controversial to date.
Gluten-Free Diet: Celiac Disease
It is an autoimmune disorder interfering with the digestion process. It can cause inflammation in the intestines and damage to the gut walls. The effects of gluten in people who have celiac disease can be, chronic diarrhea, anemia, malabsorption, and osteoporosis. The results, however, can vary from person to person. Generally, the common symptoms are nausea, vomiting, lethargy, etc. The diet allows celiac patients to recover from digestive disorders. It also helps the intestines absorb nutrients and function properly. The patients avoid dairy products while going through a gluten-free diet.
Gluten-Free Diet: Wheat Allergy/ Gluten Sensitivity
Some people are allergic or very sensitive to wheat products or food having traces of gluten. This is unlike the celiac. The intensities of sensitivity can vary from person to person.
Weight Loss Reasons
There is a myth prevailing in the non-celiac that the gluten is responsible for poor metabolism as it interferes with the process of digestion. This is the greatest food woo trending recently leading people to abstain from gluten from their diet. The diet convinces to achieve better health conditions. Earlier in the weight loss plans, people excluded gluten from diet as it cut off several foods like bread, pasta, and a lot of baked items. But now the trend has grown so much that one can have gluten-free substitutes for all these food items. In reality, this diet has shown an increase in obesity and resistance to insulin.
Some Gluten-Free Foods
- Whole-grain- quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat, millets, oats.
- Fruits and vegetables – oranges, bananas, apple, peaches, berries, cauliflowers, broccoli, mushrooms, onion, carrots, potatoes, beans, etc.
- Proteins – legumes, nuts and seeds, red meat, seafood, chicken, and tofu.
- Dairy product – milk, butter, cheese, sour cream, yogurt, and some spreads.
- Oils and fats – butter, ghee, coconut olive seed and vegetable oils respectively.
- Beverages – coffee, tea, water, cider, wine, lemonade, etc.
One must go through the labels and packaging instructions before buying and using the product. A particular brand of the same product can likely be safer than the other one. Unless someone is medically prescribed, it is suggested to avoid a gluten-free diet, as it is tiresome to stick through it. Also, one must keep in mind that even the food is gluten-free the process through which it undergoes in production and storage may add gluten to it.