Gluten refers to prolamin proteins, found in cereal grains. All gluten proteins are evolutionary connected and share the same ancestral origin. The grains that cause health problems are wheat, barley and secalin in rye. Gluten is a mixture of hundreds of distinct proteins within the same family of isoproteins, but it is made up mostly of two different proteins, gliadin, which gives dough the ability to rise, and glutenin, the glue-like property which gives dough its elasticity. Durum wheat makes the best bread and pasta flour. It is from the hard varieties of wheat which account for almost all the wheat grown on the planet and is higher in gluten content than other varieties of wheat.
Humans have been consuming wheat in some form for thousands of years, so why blame wheat for new health problems? Because modern wheat isn’t the same as it was a thousand years, or even 60 years ago. It has higher protein content so contains more gluten, it is also less nutritious value than older wheat. Today’s wheat has about 8% less of important minerals compared to what it had years ago. Cross-breeding has changed the structure of wheat gluten proteins, which could be a explanation as to why gluten intolerance has increased in the last 50-60 years
Celiac disease is the most severe form of gluten intolerance. It affects about 0.7-1% of the population. It is an autoimmune disorder, and involves the body treating gluten as a foreign invader. The immune system attacks the gluten, as well as the lining of the intestines. The most common symptoms of celiac disease are digestive discomfort, tissue damage in the small intestines, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, headache, tiredness, skin rashes, depression, weight loss and foul-smelling feces. However, some people with celiac disease do not have digestive symptoms, but may have other symptoms like tiredness or anemia.
For most people there is no need to remove gluten from your diet. Grains play a role in a healthy diet, they provide antioxidants, fiber, B and E vitamins, magnesium, iron and other vitamins and minerals. The complex carbohydrates in grains are low in fat, cholesterol and sodium and provide energy.
Bread used to be healthier, not only does flour contain more gluten but white flour has been stripped of its nutrients making it less healthy. You can switch to bran, barley or rye flour, these are rich in fiber and contain beta-glucan a soluble fiber that increases the time it takes your stomach to empty, and prevents a quick rise in blood sugar.
Products labeled wheat- free are not necessary gluten – free, they may contain spelt (a form of wheat), rye or barley based ingredients which are not gluten-free. Gluten found in these grains bothers people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. It is possible to be allergic or have sensitivity to corn and oats. Going gluten free doesn’t necessarily mean healthier. A gluten free diet could be low in vitamins, minerals and fiber unless you pay attention to the quality and nutrient content of the foods you eat. Gluten free baked goods like bread, cookies, and crackers often contain more refined flours, artificial flavors, sugar. And they cost more.
The biggest problem with wheat today mainly gluten, is that we eat too much of it. Think of all the food you eat in one day that is made with wheat flour. Any type of bread, pasta, pizza crust, crackers, cookies and more. Excessive gluten consumption can cause both weight gain and loss.
Other products that you may not know about which may have gluten.
In medication and Vitamins, gluten is sometimes used as a binder.
Beauty products, hydrolyzed gluten are used to make both emulsifiers and stabilizers.
Pickles, some are made with malt vinegar a” beer like liquid “which may contain gluten.
Bouillon cubes and packaged spice combinations, the ingredient to avoid is maltodextrin, a gluten product.
Instant gravy packets many contain gluten.
Soya sauce, wheat is a key part of the manufacturing process.
Frozen veggies and sauce, many of the sauces contain gluten products.
French fries, especially if you eat out, could be cross-contaminated if fried in oil which was previously used for onion rings or other similar items.
Pre packaged hot chocolate could be cross-contaminated with gluten if product was processed on equipment that was exposed to wheat.
Corn flakes and rice puffs often contain malt extract/flavoring, granola often made with regular oats, not gluten-free oats
Anything else that uses “wheat flour” as an ingredient.
Cutting out gluten from your diet may seem like a difficult and limiting task. Fortunately, there are many healthy and delicious foods that are gluten-free.
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