Gluten-Free is such a hot topic these days that it can be confusing as to whether you actually NEED to go gluten-free or not. Hopefully this blog post can answer some of the questions that you may have about gluten and eating gluten-free.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye. Gluten gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape and often gives the final product a chewy texture.
Why eat Gluten Free?
The most common reason would be if you or someone you know is suffering from Celiac Disease. Another reason to go gluten free would be the fact that glutinous grains can cause inflammation. Inflammation can lead to disease, illness, and promotion of cancer growth. Many people experience stomach ache or bloating after eating gluten – this is often caused by the immediate inflammation.
Where is Gluten Found?
Gluten is typically found in grains such as wheat, whole-grains, spelt, and rye. It is often found in pastas, cereals, bread, muffins, cakes, crackers, cookies and other baked goods.
Gluten-Free by Necessity or Choice?
You may have noticed the phrase “Gluten-Free” popping up in supermarkets and restaurants. For most, gluten is harmless, but can be poisonous for those with celiac disease. Even the smallest amount of gluten can cause damage to those with Celiac Disease because it damages the lining of their small intestine. The lining absorbs fewer nutrients as it is destroyed, causing malnutrition, osteoporosis, anemia and other issues. Some people suffer from non-celiac gluten sensitivity and cannot consume gluten because it causes abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea or constipation.
Another reason to go gluten free would be the fact that glutinous grains can cause inflammation. Inflammation can lead to disease, illness, and promotion of cancer growth. Many people experience stomach ache or bloating after eating gluten – this is often caused by the immediate inflammation.
Is Eating Gluten-Free Always Healthy?
There is no scientific evidence that eating gluten-free will help you lose weight. However, when people begin adding more nutrient-dense foods rather than processed foods such as breads, pastas, cakes and cookies, they begin to lose weight and feel better.
Many gluten-free products are made with refined white rice flour and starches, which are lacking fiber and nutrients. Replacing your favorite foods with gluten-free options may cause weight gain because of the extra fat and sugar that must be used to get the desired taste and texture.
If you are considering a gluten-free diet, finding gluten-free options that utilize whole, nutrient-dense foods is the best way to ensure you are getting enough fiber and nutrients.
360YourLife Gluten-Free Favorites
Pasta –> Quinoa or Black Bean Pasta
Bread –> Udi’s Gluten-Free Bread
Pizza Crust –> Cauliflower Pizza Crust
Where to Find: These products can be found in most supermarkets and local health food stores. I love buying gluten-free flours at wholesale prices online from Vitacost. Many of your favorite packaged items, such as pasta, are now being made with gluten-free grains. If choosing a packaged item, be sure to read the ingredients to make sure it is not hiding sugars, processed oils, or other harmful ingredients.
More Resources on this Topic:
Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD