In the medical terms, gluten is used to name a general type of protein that is found in wheat, barley, rye and triticale. Gluten does sound similar to the word glue and it is obvious because just as glue, gluten helps to bind the food molecules and maintain their shape.
Gluten can be found in different types of foods.
The major gluten based foods include:
Wheat based products include:
- Baked goods
- Salad Dressings
Products based on Barley include:
- Food coloring
- Malt vinegar
Products based on Rye include:
- Rye beer
- Rye bread
If you have been advised gluten-free diet, you must avoid including wheat based products and ingredients that contain wheat. However, it can be pretty difficult as most of your favorite treats and recipes are based on wheat and its ingredients. Some of the common wheat based ingredients and flours to avoid include:
- Durum wheat
- White flour
- Whole wheat flour
- Graham flour
- Wheat Germ
- Wheat Bran
Although the list is much longer, these included items are enough to give you an idea what you must avoid if you have been advised gluten free diet. There is no need to be disheartened as you can choose from the unlimited gluten-free options of fresh and healthy fruits and vegetables, beans, gluten-free grains such as rice and quinoa, dairy and nuts.
Negative Health-effects of Gluten
For the past few years, there has been an increase in the awareness regarding the negative health effects of gluten based foods. That is why many people are now shifting to gluten-free foods. Gluten is a combination of two types of complex proteins-glutenin and gliadin and the latter is known to cause Celiac disease in many people.
When the wheat flour is mixed with water, it forms an elastic binding and the gluten helps the bread to rise up. When this bread containing gliadin reaches the digestive tract, it is introduced to the immune system. The cells of the immune system mistakenly take it as some kind of pathogen or foreign invader and attacks causing gluten sensitivity.
Celiac disease is the severest form of gluten sensitivity in which the immune system of your body not only attacks the gluten proteins, but also attacks a particular enzyme in the cells of the digestive tract known as tissue transglutaminase. It means that if you are suffering from celiac disease, every time you consume gluten based foods your body’s immune system will attack both the gluten as well as the wall of the intestine. That is one reason, celiac disease is considered as a type of autoimmune disease.
The defensive reaction of the body can lead to degeneration of the intestinal wall. The result is nutrient deficiencies and related digestive issues such as fatigue, anemia and failure to resist the attack of other infections and more.
Around 1%, people have been known to suffer from celiac disease and many more are yet to be diagnosed, though health experts believe 2% people in the world are currently suffering from this disease.
Gluten sensitivity and celiac disease can cause serious consequences, and hence you need to think about reducing gluten based foods from your diet. However, the absence of wheat in the menu can sap essential nutrients from your daily plate leading to other health problems. Hence, you should consult a health expert who can suggest the right replacement and alterations in using gluten –based and gluten-free products.