Have you heard about gluten? Well it´s a topic that’s been getting recently popular. Gluten, if you´ve never heard this word before, is a group of small-sized proteins, contained exclusively in flours of cereals, mainly wheat, but also barley, rye, oats and all derivatives of these products; it´s also responsible for the elasticity of the flour dough, what allows along with fermentation that the bread obtains its volume, as well as its elastic and spongy consistency of breads and baked doughs.
Gluten is not essential for humans, actually these proteins have a very low nutritional value. Nevertheless, it´s something to which we’ve been exposed during thousands of years due to the consumption and utilization of food that have them.
Unfortunately the gluten to which we´re exposed today is very different to the one nature provided us hundreds of years ago. Modern crops product is higly modified. That´s why the bread we buy at the supermarket lasts so long without going bad.
Today´s Gluten Controversy
Several years ago there was an advertisement and scientific boom against this protein called gluten, after diverse studies stated that many actual diseases such as Alzheimer’s and attention deficit disorder we´re intimately related to this product consumption.
“Remember not only gluten in products might be intoxicating your body. All processed products contain a big quantity of synthetic additives that damage our organism”
On the other hand, when the food industry saw the population reaction to these revelations, they started to exploit the problematic by creating a series of gluten-free products and quality labels that “guarantee” that products which carry this label are gluten-free. This lead to such a point today that there are brands which sell and promote their product as gluten-free water. Something that from scientific and advertising perspective borders with ridiculousness and barefacedness.
¿Celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, wheat allergy?
- Celiac Disease: it’s not an exclusively digestive disease, and rather considered as an autoimmune disease in which varied symptoms present and or diseases associated and is induced by gluten ingestion. It’s believed that this disease affects only 1 every 133 persons.
- Gluten Sensitivity: Few people are really allergic and many are actually sensitive. I think this has come to be this way because both gluten and wheat are present nowadays in many highly processed products. Then, will these allergies and sensitivities be caused by ourselves? I think they are! I think they’re a way our body has to protect itself. Different from celiac disease, it doesn´t depend that you’re allergic to gluten, only that you’re sensitive to it. It’s believed that less than 10% of american population has it and symptoms can be very similar to people considered celiac, as might be:
- Muscular Pain
- Joint Pain
- Hormonal Problems, etc.
In my opinion the best way to discover if you’re sensitive (it´s different to be allergic) to gluten is doing your own experiment. Eliminate it for one month in all it’s forms and observe how do you feel, what changes do you observe. After this eat it several times per day and watch the results.
- Wheat Allergy: This is the third possibility why you could feel bad after eating certain products that contain gluten and think gluten is the origin of the problem. Even though gluten is in all wheat products, wheat free products such as barley, rye, malt and some types of oats are tolerated by individuals with gluten allergies.
Consume or not consume Gluten?
“That a product says it’s “gluten free” doesn´t mean it’s healthy”
In this final recommendation section what I can say doesn´t apply as a common rule for every person and it shouldn´t be an absolute judgement for what you should or should not do.
This is why I´d like to encourage you to know your own body and that you are the ones who evaluate what is best for your health.
You don’t have to necessarily leave gluten if you don´t present discomfort when consuming it. Do the experiment and see what happens and how do you feel when you quit these processed foods. And sometimes, this might also include the products labeled as gluten- free.
What I do recommend is to eat the most natural possible, avoid highly processed products and don’t believe everything that the food industry promotes as healthy.
This is it for today and remember: it’s always better to go with nature than go against it.