There are more and more products in the supermarkets and stores labeled “gluten-free.” Simultaneously, many celebrities are excited to tell us how ditching gluten has improved their lives. Such statements give rise to many myths.
Gluten is a vegetable protein that is contained in wheat, rye, oats, barley. 1% of the world’s population suffers from celiac disease (gluten enteropathy) – intolerance to this substance. The condition is genetically determined: when it enters the intestine, gluten disturbs the natural functioning of the body and causes unpleasant symptoms – beginning with swelling of the abdomen and ending with headaches and nervous disorders. Due to this fact, people are forced to give up products containing gluten.
Gluten is virtually pure protein: in 100 g of dry product, there are about 70 g of protein. Therefore, people often use it as a protein supplement – for example, in the production of baby foods and ready-made snacks.
Myth # 1: Gluten products cause allergy in children
Not true at all. Gluten is not harmful to healthy children.
Where did this myth come from then? It all started in 2001 when the World Health Organization recommended that gluten-free products be given to children up to 6 months of age to reduce the risk of developing allergic diseases and bronchial asthma. But four years later, a disproof was published in the American Medical Association.
It turned out that the research shows another thing: if the delivery of gluten products does not begin until the child’s 7-month of age, the risk of allergy increases. That is the opposite of the first statement.
The final recommendation is: the age between 4 and 6 months is the best time to start giving the child gluten foods.
Entirely another is the case when it comes to a hereditary predisposition to celiac. In this case, the introduction of gluten products should be done very carefully, and the condition of the child should be monitored. If the food causes a rash, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal swelling, etc., you should consult a doctor to clarify the cause of this reaction. You may need to do a lot of research, and then the doctor can tell you if giving the child gluten products are right or not.
Myth # 2: Gluten-free helps in weight loss
Of course, as usual, the gluten-free diet began to spread from Hollywood stars. In the summer of 2008, America’s favorite Oprah Winfrey struck her fans with her altered figure and details of the three-week purifying diet. She reported that she had excluded from her daily diet products containing gluten and caffeine and meat and sugar.
It was just the beginning. In 2011, tennis player Novak Djokovic told everyone that his year was so successful, not only thanks to his hard workouts but also his new gluten-free diet. Djokovic specified that he had to make this change in his diet because of his intolerance to this protein.
The athlete noted that his self-esteem improved; he felt a rush of energy, had dropped his weight, and is playing more confidently. Everyone remembered the tennis player’s fantastic results but quickly forgot that he had to give up his favorite products like pizza and cakes not because of a slender figure but because of illness.
Wheat products cannot be called dietary – they should be eaten in moderate amounts. Everyone knows that you can gain weight by abusing salty and sweet baked foods. But if gluten products cause the Celiac disease patients more trouble, then the healthy ones do not respond in such a way.
Still, if someone praises the gluten-free diet and says it has helped him lose weight, he speaks a little cunningly. The thing is, this diet suggests giving up burgers, sausages, processed meat, delicious yogurts, and all kinds of ready-made foods – since they contain gluten. They are added to the food to improve the taste and appearance. Thus, giving up gluten, we also give up the range of fast-food restaurants. Not bad, but here’s a catch: the more people give up the gluten, the more alternative substitutes become.
When gluten is excluded, producers try to preserve taste and help come with quite non-dietary replacements. For example, a lot more fat and sugar would be added to the bread to maintain the flavor and shape and not spoil too quickly. If we compare the caloric value of two such bakery products, there will be more fat, carbohydrates, and calories in the gluten-free but less protein.
The conclusion is obvious: the lack of gluten in the products does not make them healthy.
Especially when it comes to fast food – still the refined and modified ingredients in it remain!
To be in shape, you can choose foods: fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, fish seeds, non-fat meats and milk, unprocessed cereals (gluten-free or not). The beautiful figure and good self-esteem in such nutrition content are provided.
Myth # 3: Modern wheat cultures are much more harmful than the old 50 years ago, so now there are more people with increased gluten sensitivity
The job is that the diagnosis itself has improved a lot.
If half a century ago was too complicated to discover the celiac disease, today, we use research methods that make it possible to clarify with precision whether a person is intolerant of this protein.
That’s why the number of celiac patients has increased.
It is already clear: gluten provokes some other problems, such as allergy. Scientists have concluded that in some cases, we are talking about the so-called potential celiac disease when the analysis gives a positive immunological test and exhibits genetic markers. Still, there are no changes in the structure of the small intestine mucosa.
It is also good to look at another problem – gluten sensitivity. In studies, scientists have noticed that some people may experience abdominal swelling, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and other symptoms such as headaches, mood swings, muscle spasms, chronic fatigue, and weight loss. But the manifestations may be different, so to be entirely sure whether you have allergies or increased gluten sensitivity, you should do a study and consult a doctor.
It is dangerous to exclude gluten entirely from your diet for prevention because it can provoke other diseases related to the lack of necessary minerals and vitamins. And with gluten sensitivity, you do not have to turn off gluten from your food completely – sometimes, it’s enough to reduce its use.