Gluten. Myths & Facts.

Recently I had an interesting conversation with the editor of one online publication about gluten. It was clear from the beginning that the editor had her own agenda on the topic, she was keen to show that the gluten-free diet is just a new trend. Over the past few months I have studied the question of gluten quite thoroughly, since a close person was diagnosed with “intolerance” to this component and a strict gluten-free diet was recommended.

The literal translation of the Latin name gluten is “glue”. Gluten is a complex protein, its main function is to collect or glue together other proteins in one group. You can find gluten in many grains, for example, in wheat, oats, barley. Therefore, bread, cookies, pasta that are made from wheat or rye contain gluten. Hidden gluten, for example, as wheat starch, is used for the production of yoghurts, mayonnaise, ketchup, sausages. Gluten-free meal plan is recommended as a medical and therapeutic diet, and not the program to loose weight. People who are diagnosed with gluten intolerance or gluten allergy can experience symptoms such as irritation of the intestines, weakened immunity, allergies, intoxication. Elimination of gluten helps to fix the digestive system and get rid of unpleasant symptoms. If you suffer from bloating, nausea, vomiting, its best to get tested for celiac disease (this disease is also called gluten enteropathy – a multifactorial disease, a digestive disorder). People with celiac disease must be gluten-free to prevent symptoms and disease-related complications.

There is also another side of the coin. Many grains contain many health benefits and nutrients such as fiber, iron, zinc, folate, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, calcium, vitamin B12 and phosphorus. Without gluten, the body may not get enough vital vitamins, so healthy people should consume gluten foods in moderation (but not in processed form, like fast food). Hence, I do not believe there is a benefit to eating gluten-free if you don’t have a gluten intolerance. So, is gluten harmful to humans? Apparently, the answer is in the middle. You can harm your own body by consuming too many unhealthy, fatty, sugary products and they don’t have to even contain gluten. Each body has its own “limit”, and if you exceed in abusing it with processed foods, the metabolism will start to fail. And it could lead to dangerous diseases.

To maintain a healthy mind, in a healthy body, the food should be simple, fresh and nutritious. If you have to excluse gluten, replace wheat and rye with quinoa or corn cakes. If you don’t have gluten intolerance, enjoy pasta or fresh bread once in a while. I still believe in my food model 80% X 20%. If you eat healthy 80% of the time, you can treat yourself  with something tasty the rest of 20%.  Be healthy! Be happy.