Without a doubt, every time you walk inside a grocery store, there’s a huge possibility that you see products labeled as ‘gluten-free.’ As a general impression, you’ll probably think that these products are considered to be healthier as compared to the standard ones. This is what marketers want you to believe– so that you’ll opt for gluten-free products instead. However, the truth is, gluten isn’t really bad for you unless you’re suffering from a celiac disease or you’re really sensitive to gluten.
You’re probably asking yourself this question now, if gluten isn’t really harmful, what could it do to your body?
What is Gluten?
Let’s start with the basics. Gluten is a composite produced from a number of proteins. Likewise, it’s commonly present in wheat and other related grains, such as rye and barley. Gluten gives texture and add chewiness to baked goods. With that, it’s usually utilized as a binder, thickener, protein supplement, and even flavor enhancer. However, there are people who experience gluten intolerance and they should opt for a gluten-free diet just to prevent the symptoms from occurring.
Foods That Have Gluten
Aside from wheat, gluten is also present in cereal grains, such as spelt, durum, farro, einkorn, graham, semolina, and kamut. Most of these are often used as a flavor enhancer, protein supplement, binder, and thickener. Despite the fact that grains are very common in breakfast cereals, you could also find them in baked goods and several foods that you haven’t thought of.
As a thickener, gluten are usually present in broths and soups. You could also find them in gravies, and sauces, such as salad dressing, ketchup, and marinade. Due to the fact that gluten is capable of enhancing the food’s flavor, it’s often used in spice blends, bouillon, and other products, such as liquor, vinegar, dairy, and coffee. Likewise, gluten aren’t limited to that. You could even find it in products that are used to seal envelopes because it acts as a stabilizer too.
Furthermore, for people who don’t have access to protein sources, gluten could be an ideal protein supplement. The amount of protein it contains make it a useful substitute for meat. That’s why most vegan and those who are undergoing vegetarian diets opt for them instead. Additionally, most imitation meats or better known as wheat meats are made up of concentrated gluten.
There are four types of protein that could be found in gluten, namely: glutelins, albumins, prolamins, and globulins. Prolamins as well as glutelins are usually present in wheat. On the other hand, globulins and albumins are abundant in rice and corn. Also, a lot of people associate wheat with the term ‘gluten.’ Though, it’s considered as a healthy protein, it could still cause health issues, such as celiac disease if consumed in large amounts. For those who are gluten intolerant, it’s not advisable to eat foods that have glutelins because it could be dangerous for them.
The protein found in wheat is made up of 80% prolamin, that’s known as gliadin and the glutelin, better known as glutenin. If these molecules combine because of a chemical reaction, it’ll result in a hardened and stretched substance. That’s how doughs get a light, airy texture with a hint of chewiness to it. With that, gluten is mostly used in baked goods.
Gluten and Weight Gain
Let’s debunk the myth related to gluten and weight gain. Consuming products that have gluten wouldn’t necessarily result in weight gain. However, in case that you’re gluten sensitive, it could result to inflammation and bloating. This would prevent the person to lose weight. Nonetheless, undergoing a gluten-free diet for the purpose of losing weight isn’t advisable either.
Some people experience gluten intolerance. Therefore, they must avoid consuming products that have gluten in order to avoid the damage caused by it. Even though this could be quite difficult at first, it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. A gluten-free diet requires a complete understanding about gluten and where it’s usually present. We all know that gluten is virtually present in a lot of products. Thus, it’s very necessary for the person to read the labels carefully in order to identify if the product he’s planning to buy contains gluten or not.
Contrary to the popular belief that ‘gluten-free’ means it doesn’t have any gluten in it, it only means that the product still has gluten, but lesser than the standard amount. Likewise, because there are a lot of foods that contain this substance, finding alternative sources for all of the minerals, vitamins, and fiber required for a healthy living could be a challenge.