What is Gluten ?
A mixture of proteins found in wheat, barley and rye is called as gluten. Oats do not genetically contain gluten, but they are often sometimes listed as containing gluten since they are often processed with wheat, barley, or rye.
Proteins found in cereal grain’s endosperm specifies gluten. In food items made up of wheat, barley and rye, gluten helps in giving food a chewy texture, maintaining its shape and providing elasticity.
Is gluten good or bad for you?
Initially, gluten free diet (GFD) was used for people with Celiac disease.
Celiac disease is a serious genetic autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. Read more HERE.
Many people are going gluten free without any diagnosis of Celiac disease because they think that gluten may be causing them to feel overly tired or unwell. Though they do not have any specific evidence to prove it.
There is another condition known as non-Celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) which is neither an allergy, nor an autoimmune disorder but it does produce symptoms similar to Celiac disease. Complete elimination of gluten from the diet is currently the only way to treat Celiac disease or NCGS. Many people also think that removal of gluten from their diet can lead to weight loss.
This has led to an increase in the amount of gluten-free labeled food. It is surely good for the people affected by Celiac disease.
Can anyone go gluten free?
There is no specific confirmation that anyone NOT having NCGS or Celiac will feel better after giving up gluten. Many people who gave up gluten just saw a compelling reduction in bloating which they anticipated as weight loss.
The bloating may decrease many times because the removal of gluten from diet leads to removal of starches or introduction of simple starches. The fibre leads to attraction of water for digestion causing the stomach to bloat.
These days gluten free food items have become highly popular. The global prevalence of Celiac disease is only 1-2% but still the popularity of GFD is rising.
A study in 2014 investigated that there has been a significant difference in the nutritional content of gluten free and gluten containing food.
It was also observed that gluten free food contain one third less protein and also provide twice the amount of mainly saturated fats as compared to gluten containing products.
Unless there is a diagnosis of Celiac disease or gluten insensitivity, the short answer is NO to go gluten free.
Some clients may not show any symptoms of Celiac disease of NCGS even though they might be having them. Some of the symptoms are :
- Keratosis pilaris (chicken skin on the back of your arms)
- Foggy mind
- ADHD-like behavior
- Abdominal pain
- Bone or joint pain
- Chronic fatigue
Any client who is worried whether they should go gluten-free, should consult their physician and have run tests for a diagnosis.