It seems like everyone is on a gluten-free diet, which makes it one of the latest food fads. You can see the evidence right at the supermarket aisles where many products are proudly labeled as free from gluten. Even restaurants have added gluten-free options.
While such diet is a craze, several people are actually confused about gluten-free diet.
Before you join the bandwagon, here are six important things you should know about gluten:
1. Gluten is a protein that can bring some trouble. It is found in some grains, particularly in wheat, including spelt, bulgur, and semolina. Barley, triticale, and rye also have gluten. However, it can also be in deli meats, some chocolates, soy sauce, toothpaste, and even vitamins. While gluten is protein, your body finds it difficult to digest it completely, which makes people sick. If your friend gets sick because of gluten, this doesn’t mean you will, too.
2. Gluten should be avoided by some people. About 1% of the population can die just because of this protein. This is because they have celiac disease, which makes them very sensitive to gluten. Even a very small amount can cause them to be hospitalized due to the damages gluten causes to the small intestine lining. If you have celiac disease and you eat food with gluten, health problems arise, including chronic diarrhea, abdominal cramping, osteoporosis, and even some cancer types.
3. You may need to cut back on gluten even if you are not part of the 1%. Over the past 50 years, there has been a huge increase in our consumption of highly refined wheat flour, which contains gluten. As a result, millions of people from all walks of life suffer from a condition called gluten sensitivity.
This condition can trigger many unpleasant symptoms, including:
• Joint pains
• Stomach pains
• Brain fog
• Skin rashes
4. Avoiding gluten-free is not a solution for weight loss. Contrary to what your best friend may have told you, living gluten-free can actually make you fat. Many people who steer clear of this protein end up gaining weight because they generally consume more packaged foods that have high saturated fat content as well as sodium and sugar. These products have high-glycemic refined ingredients, including fillers and white rice flour, which can trigger cravings and increase your blood sugar.
5. You need a balanced diet if you go gluten-free. You can get really hungry as you avoid gluten products. Instead of eating gluten-free crackers, you should just go for natural food options, including fruits, veggies, lean meats, brown rice, nuts and seeds, and fish and poultry.
6. You can identify foods with gluten, but not all the time. Before you buy a product, make sure you read the label first. IT is required by law that the manufacturers label their product whether or not it is gluten-free. However, some food purchases do not have labels and are individually-wrapped. If you want to avoid gluten completely, you should familiarize yourself with the sources of gluten.
Although gluten is something that can harm some people’s lives, it is more important to be aware of it rather than be afraid of this protein. You can consult your doctor first before you go gluten-free. It also helps if you discover your own level of tolerance when it comes to gluten.