Gluten free diet is becoming popular with increasing awareness of gluten-related diseases. These diets have become even easier as the food industry produces more gluten-free products because of this popularity. So, are gluten-containing foods really bad in general, as claimed?
The answer to the question of whether gluten is good or bad depends on the people. The diseases caused by gluten are Celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, wheat allergy and gluten ataxia. The only treatment of people with these diseases is a gluten-free diet.
However, there is no proven study on the benefit of having a gluten diet in people who do not show any symptoms or, in other words, do not have a gluten-related disease before.
Gluten is a protein found in the wheat plant and some other grains. Along with wheat, gluten also comes from rye, barley, and triticale.
Gluten occurs naturally, but can be produced and concentrated. Extracted gluten can be added to any food products to give texture, and flavor. It also works as a binding agent to hold processed foods together and give them shape.
Therefore, gluten can be seen in many products from bread to pasta, from beer to nutritional supplements.
One of the digestive enzymes that helps us break down food, Protease is the enzyme that helps our bodies process proteins, but it cannot completely break down gluten. Undigested gluten comes into the small intestine. Most people’s can deal with undigested gluten without issue. But in some people, gluten can trigger a serious set of autoimmune symptoms.
The autoimmune response to gluten is called Celiac disease. Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune condition in which a person’s immune system attacks the cells of the small intestine when they ingest gluten, and it can damage the small intestine. Symptoms of celiac include digestive problems, diarrhea or constipation, skin diseases, bloating, weakness, etc. Studies show that this disease is seen at a rate of 1% worldwide.
However, gluten intolerance may also be present, showing the same symptoms as celiac disease and being more common. While celiac disease can destroy the small intestine, gluten sensitivity can only show symptoms such as digestive problems, bloating, and fatigue.
The only known treatment for celiac disease is a gluten-free diet.
While there are confusing ideas that gluten is harmful, this has not been proven. Humans have been making and consuming bread for thousands of years. The situation is a little different when gluten, which is not inherently bad for most people, is found in processed foods. Because the natural wheat gluten found in natural bread is added in refined form from the outside in processed foods. So it’s very different from foods made with natural grains.
The general opinion is that there is no harm in consuming gluten-containing foods in the absence of naturally consumed gluten-related disorders.
People with celiac disease, gluten intolerance and other gluten-related diseases should avoid gluten-containing foods.
Fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh and unprocessed meat products, fish, eggs and many fats and oils can be part of a gluten-free diet.