What is Gluten, What does gluten do to your body?

What is Gluten, What does gluten do to your body?

What is Gluten, What does gluten do to your body?

Gluten has become somewhat of a buzzword in our culture.

It’s not uncommon to follow a gluten-free diet even if you aren’t medically required to do so. But what even is gluten? And why has it earned such a bad reputation?

In a world of trending diets like the ketogenic diet or the paleo diet, it’s good to determine if eating gluten-free is helpful or just another fad. We talked to experts at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center to find out if gluten is really something you need to axe from your diet.

What is gluten?

Gluten is a protein naturally found in grains like wheat, barley and rye. The protein is also found in triticale, which is a newer grain that is a cross between wheat and rye. Breads, baked goods, pasta and cereals are just a few common foods that contain gluten.

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Gluten is an important agent for the structure and texture of foods. “It makes such good cakes, cookies and breads because it helps to stick all the ingredients together and trap in water molecules to give the foods that light and airy texture,” says Abi Lepolt, a registered dietitian at Cincinnati Children’s, via email.

What does gluten do to your body?

Despite gluten’s bad reputation, the protein doesn’t harm your body unless you have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, says Amy Reed, who is also a registered dietician at Cincinnati Children’s and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

For people with celiac disease, gluten triggers an autoimmune response that damages the small intestine. Symptoms of celiac disease include various digestive issues and growth and development problems. The disease can also impact other parts of the body to cause a wide range of symptoms like headaches, fatigue and reproductive problems in women.

Gluten intolerance, or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, is considered less serious than celiac disease because it doesn’t cause damage to the body. Gluten-intolerant people get sick after eating gluten and may experience digestive issues.

ALSO READ: 10 TIPS FOR MAINTAINING A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE AND BODY WEIGHT

If you don’t have one of these medical issues, then you don’t need to consider excluding gluten from your diet. Cutting out gluten can actually be harmful for people who don’t need to. “If you’re not going to have gluten, then you are excluding some foods that have health benefits,” Reed explains. Whole grains are one example. “Whole grains have some good B vitamins, they have fiber,” Reed adds.

Why is gluten controversial?

So, if gluten isn’t bad for most people, why have gluten-free diets gone mainstream? Reed theorizes that this is related to the increase in gluten-free products for people with celiac disease. As non-celiac people started to see these products at the supermarket, they may have jumped to conclusions about the healthiness of gluten.

“I think, sometimes what happens is, when we see something is free of something, the assumption is, ‘well then it must be bad if we’re having to make foods that are free of it,’” she says. “Whereas, really, making those gluten-free foods, we’re making those products more accessible to the people who medically couldn’t have gluten.”

“It’s not that it’s bad,” she explains “It’s just bad for people who have celiac disease.”

Certainly! Let’s break down information about gluten step by step:

1. Definition:

  • Gluten is a mixture of proteins found in wheat and related grains, such as barley and rye.

2. Composition:

  • The primary proteins in gluten are gliadin and glutenin.
  • When these proteins are mixed with water, they form a sticky and elastic dough.

3. Function in Food:

  • Gluten provides structure and elasticity to dough, which is essential for the rising of bread and other baked goods.
  • It helps trap carbon dioxide produced by yeast or other leavening agents, leading to the characteristic texture of bread.

4. Foods Containing Gluten:

  • Wheat-based Products: Bread, pasta, couscous, cakes, cookies, and pastries.
  • Barley: Barley malt, malt extract, and some types of vinegar.
  • Rye: Rye bread and certain cereals.

5. Gluten Sensitivity and Celiac Disease:

  • Some people may experience adverse reactions to gluten.
  • Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine.
  • Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is a condition where individuals experience symptoms similar to those of celiac disease but without the autoimmune response.

6. Gluten-Free Diet:

  • People with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity often follow a gluten-free diet to manage their condition.
  • Gluten-free alternatives include rice, corn, quinoa, and gluten-free flours.

7. Gluten in Processed Foods:

  • Gluten can hide in various processed foods under different names, such as modified food starch or hydrolyzed vegetable protein.
  • Reading food labels is crucial for those following a gluten-free diet.

8. Controversies and Trends:

  • There has been a rise in gluten-free diets as a lifestyle choice, even for those without gluten-related disorders.
  • However, experts advise against unnecessary gluten avoidance for those without sensitivity.

9. Conclusion:

  • Gluten is a complex mixture of proteins found in wheat, barley, and rye.
  • It plays a crucial role in the texture and structure of many baked goods.
  • For individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, avoiding gluten is necessary, but for others, it is not inherently harmful.

Simon Dahboss

The biography of Simon Dahboss, a dexterous Funny Trivia and a skit maker, producer, director born on the 5th of April, 1995 born in Oyo. Jacob Simeon popularly known as General Simon Dahboss is a Nigerian Based businessman, entertainer, entrepreneur, Blogger, programmer, and a Freelancer, he is the chairman and the owner of the popular known as DBG Entertainment.

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