The truth behind gluten free food
21 January 2021
This article was written by Lama Kazan
It's almost impossible to miss the growth in the number and types of products in the supermarkets with claims of “gluten-free” on their packaging. “Gluten” has been portrayed as the villain that will lead to all sufferings, from weight gain to stomach pain and the list goes on. A gluten free diet has become a trend leading many to think that it’s the solution to their weight gain problems. But what is gluten and is it really the bad guy?
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein that is found in barley, wheat and rye which usually make a wide variety of carbohydrate containing foods such as bread, pasta and even beer. In addition, gluten could be found in packaged products as a filler.
Celiac disease, The real Gluten intolerance diseaseAbout 1% of the population suffer from what we call Celiac disease. Celiac disease, a gluten intolerance disease, is the inability of the intestines to absorb nutrients from foods that contain gluten. While nowadays many claim to have gluten intolerance, only 1 out 100 people truly suffer from this disease. The disease can be tested and diagnosed easily via your healthcare professional. People with celiac depending on the severity of the disease suffer from digestive symptoms such as severe stomach pains, diarrhea, vomiting, bloating, poor appetite and weightloss. Often times digestive issues lead to other symptoms such as anemia, fatigue, bone weakness, mouth ulcers and others related to malnutrition and a reduction in vitamins in the body. Anyone with celiac disease needs to indeed avoid gluten-containing products as this not only leads to bad quality of life but also poses a health risk on them.
Everything you need to know about gluten sensitivityGluten sensitivity is another form of mild condition that could affect some of people who eat gluten containing products. It should not be mistaken with gluten intolerance. This could be evident as mild bloating, occasional stomach pain and even a rash when they eat gluten containing food and specifically wheat products. This is rare and is usually diagnosed by process of diet elimination. The only way to discover this is by eliminating gluten containing foods for a period of time and recording a diary of how they feel. This condition is not common but if confirmed one who suffer from this would certainly benefit from avoiding gluten. Needless to say, according to a recently published study, about 90% of those thinking they have gluten sensitivities were wrong about the “diagnosis”.
Example of a day of a gluten elimination diet:Breakfast 2 Eggs with 2 rice cakes plus 1 tomato Snack 1 12-15 almonds Lunch One grilled chicken breast with a side of quinoa and mixed green salad Snack 2 One apple Dinner 200 grams salmon with a side of mashed sweet potato and broccoli
Gluten-free Diet misconceptionsNowadays about 30% of the population choose to follow a gluten free diet but are unaware that sometimes it is in fact counterproductive. While some think they are gluten sensitive, others associate gluten with carbs and avoid it because they believe it is the culprit behind their stubborn weight loss efforts. They stock up on gluten free packaged products and even eat them adlib without taking into consideration the ingredients or caloric content. Here are few reasons why gluten-free products and a gluten free diet are not necessarily healthier for those who don’t need to avoid it:
- Weight gain: gluten free products are stripped from the protein gluten. This forces manufacturer to substitute the gluten with additives, sugars, fats to enhance the flavoring. This process not only degrades the quality of the food but also add unnecessary calories!
- Vitamin and minerals deficiencies: it has been shown that gluten-free dieter do not consume adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin D, vitamin B12, folate, iron, magnesium, calcium, and zinc -found in gluten containing products.
- Expensive: marketed gluten-free products and even products that claim to be gluten free by being labeled that way (although they naturally do not contain gluten) are more expensive than others. The food industry is benefitting from this big hype and therefore increasing prices. Don’t be fooled!
Healthy gluten free recipes ideasNaturally Gluten-free banana pancakes Ingredients:
- 1 scoop vegan ( or any ) vanilla protein powder
- 2 egg whites and 1 full egg
- ½ cup of any milk
- 1 ripe banana
- 1 small spoon baking powder
- 30 grams gluten-free oats
- ½ cup berries
- 1 spoon all natural no added sugar peanut butter
- chicken breast ( roasted ahead of time or pan cooked with oregano, salt and pepper)
- almonds slivered
- 1 cup of lettuce chopped medium pieces
- 6-7 grapes cut in halves
- big spoons of small diced celery
- 1 big spoon of fat free Greek yogurt
- 1 small spoon of honey
- 1 spoon of yellow mustard
- Salt and pepper to your liking