Some people, particularly those who strictly follow gluten-free diets, don’t really understand what gluten is. Many gluten-free diets influence people with many misconceptions about gluten.
In reality, gluten is not gluten without its protein components. Hence, some gluten-free foods are not necessarily free of gluten. However, these foods are much healthier, lower in fat, and improve many signs and symptoms of this disease.
Before deciding to join the ‘gluten-free’ food trends, you should read about gluten facts and myths first.
What Is Gluten?
Gluten is a complex group of seed storing proteins found primarily in wheat grains. Technically speaking, ‘gluten,’ as an entity, refers only to the protein structures contained within wheat. But, in reality, it also includes all grain products. In the United States, the federal government requires that the gluten in wheat and related products be labeled with the symbol ‘GLUTEN’ and the ingredient ‘wheat.’
The main source of gluten used in foods today comes from the yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This species of yeast produces gluten when it feeds on sugars and starches found in flour products. These yeasts are also found in wheat bread and other processed wheat products.
Gluten is also found in yeast and some fruits like pears and apples. The good news is that gluten is beneficial to your health, as it aids in mucous development. But gluten intolerance, when it’s not properly controlled, may cause some health problems.
There are two types of gluten intolerance. First, is Celiac disease, which a condition where the small intestine cannot tolerate gluten in the body. This is a genetic disorder that cannot be cured but can be controlled and even eliminated. The other type of gluten intolerance is non-celiac gluten sensitivity. This condition only affects a person’s ability to digest gluten. It may manifest itself as an allergy, leading to malabsorption of nutrients, anemia, and other complications.
Gluten Myths And The Truth Behind Them
There are several gluten myths that have created quite an issue for a lot of people. Here are some common myths about gluten:
Gluten Is Bad For Your Health
This myth is one of the gluten myths that people have heard for years. There’s no scientific evidence showing that gluten intolerance is a serious health problem.
Some people even believe that they need to completely cut out gluten from their diet to maintain a healthy body. Any scientific studies don’t back such claims. However, there are some foods that contain gluten that’s helpful for your health.
People with celiac disease suffer from many digestive issues like diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and bloating, so gluten should be avoided.
2. Avoiding Gluten Helps You Lose Weight
Many gluten-free diets promise weight loss to people who religiously follow them. Although many people lose weight at the beginning of their regimen, cutting gluten isn’t the reason.
The main reason these people lose weight is that they avoid processed foods with high calorie and fat content. People who go on a gluten-free diet eat more fruits and vegetables and avoid carbs like wheat. Doing these will help people lose weight, and not really the absence of gluten in your body.
3. Gluten Is Expensive
Some people think that adding gluten to their foods will make it unsustainable because it’s expensive. While the truth is that most gluten products are more affordable than you may think.
It doesn’t matter what type of gluten you buy, as long as you buy a product that’s made from organic ingredients. Organic food is always going to cost more than food that’s conventionally grown.
4. Avoiding Gluten Will Make You Healthier
There’s no actual evidence to show a significant difference in a person’s overall health when they stopped eating gluten compared to avoiding it in their diet.
Gluten-based protein bars are rich in nutrients and fiber. They also provide you with several amino acids that aid in the growth of muscles and tissues. On the other hand, gluten-free peanut butter bars are known to help you with weight loss and fight diabetes. The difference between these two is that peanut butter is derived from peanuts, whereas gluten-based protein bars are made from whole wheat.
There’s no evidence that gluten is harmful to people, except when you have celiac disease. Many foods contain gluten, and it also provides you with amino acids and fibers, which is good for your overall health.
Gluten doesn’t necessarily affect your weight as well. If you want to lose weight through dieting, there are other foods you should eat to manage your weight. Overall, it’s okay to avoid gluten, but you have to know that it’s not harmful to your body.