Gluten is a specific protein found in grains like wheat, barley and rye. It is a binding agent and gives dough its elasticity and ability to rise. It is composed of the proteins glutenin and gliadin (found in wheat), secaline (in rye) and hordein (in barley). There is no nutritional benefit in gluten itself but there are a lot of health benefits to be gained from foods containing gluten.
I strongly advocate whole grains and I fear that gluten free diets are depriving people with nutritional energy sources that are the staple foods of families who have been eating it for generations. The fiber, vitamins and minerals found in whole grains make us feel fuller and satisfied and keep us from eating more in order to feel satiated If you need a gluten-free diet, you need to be extremely smart about managing it.
Who Needs A Gluten-Free Diet?
People who suffer from celiac disease or gluten insensitivity need a gluten-free diet. Also, people with an auto-immune disorder, which has a negative impact on the intestines when gluten is ingested, need to avoid gluten.Villi, which are small finger-like projections on the surface of our small intestine, are vital to the absorption of nutrients from the food we eat. With damaged or flattened villi, gluten intolerant people cannot get the nutrition they need from food and they become under-nourished no matter how healthy the food they eat may be.
The symptoms celiac disease or gluten intolerance can be gas, bloating, changes in bowel movements, sudden weight loss or weight gain, fatigue and weakness. But beware of self-examination and uninformed conclusions. It is easier said than done – you may need to log everything you eat and how you feel within 2 hours after consuming that food. Try this for one week with gluten products and one week without gluten products.If you think you may have a problem with gluten, a blood test can be done which detects abnormal levels of certain auto antibodies. In certain severe cases, an intestinal biopsy may detect damaged villi.
Can a Gluten-Free Diet Lead to Weight Loss?
There’s no evidence that a gluten-free diet leads to weight loss. In fact, moving from “regular” processed foods to gluten-free ones may result in weight gain. A lot of over-the-counter products are been sold as gluten-free products, but unfortunately not all the foods are healthy. Some are very high in saturated fats or cholesterol. Others may be very high in their carbohydrate contents, thus high in sugars. Many gluten-free diets are made with refined flour, which is fiber drained, leading to high sugar levels and hence more fat storage. It is almost like someone who is avoiding sugar to lose weight and ends up eating lots of sugar-free but fat and calorie-rich sugar-free laddoos and mithais. Besides, gluten-free diets are two to three times expensive than the regular foods.
We are what we eat and hence eliminating any food from our diets unnecessarily and extensively won’t do any good but shall harm you instead.A balanced diet with the right nutrients and their quantum according to your body weight requirements, naturally occurring fiber in local fruits and vegetables,cereals,and a good physical activity will ensure your goal towards weight loss. Switching to the right food for the right reason is the real long-term solution.