Recently, the gluten-free diet has become extremely popular. More and more people are wondering if gluten is harmful and whether they should eliminate it from their diet. So let’s consider what it actually is and whether it really harms.
Gluten is – in short – a protein. More specifically – a specific protein found in certain foods, especially wheat. However, this is a big simplification – in fact, gluten is found in a large amount of food products and if we want to eliminate it from our diet, we should get to know them well.
What foods are gluten free?
First, they are all meat, fish and eggs, provided they are unprocessed. If they are processed (e.g. processed into sausages or canned goods) then the presence of gluten is possible.
Gluten is not present in simple dairy products – fresh milk, carton milk, condensed milk, powdered milk, kefir, buttermilk, natural yogurt, unprocessed white cheese, yellow cheese. It may, however, be found in processed products such as fruit yogurt, processed cheese and blue cheese. We will certainly not find gluten in butter, lard, margarine, vegetable oil and olive oil.
People who want to avoid gluten without any worries can also eat all kinds of fruit and vegetables – fresh and frozen, and even preserved (if there are no additives). Legumes and potatoes also do not contain gluten. It should be remembered that dried fruit may already contain certain amounts.
We can also drink coffee and tea, fruit juices, herbal infusions and pure alcohol (but we will find gluten in grain coffee, oat cocoa, drinks sweetened with barley malt and beer).
Gluten-free diet – a new fashion or a chance to improve health?
The biggest problem in a gluten-free diet is the matter of grain. It is obvious that gluten can be found in wheat and its varieties (e.g. spelled). Gluten can also be found in triticale, barley, rye, plain oats (due to impurities), wheat flour, rye, barley, wheat flakes, barley, rye, oat, semolina, couscous, barley (pearl barley, pearl), muesli, oatmeal, instant cereal and milk-cereal porridges, wheat noodles, rye noodles, dumplings, dumplings, potato dumplings, pancakes, bread – each if it is not marked as gluten-free (white and wholemeal bread, rolls, baguettes, maca, pumpernickel , crispbread, pretzels), dry confectionery (biscuits, biscuits, wafers, biscuits, gingerbread, rusks, bread sticks, etc.), cakes, pastries, buns, pizza, hamburger roll, bread crumbs.
However, there are also gluten-free cereals. These are white and brown rice, corn, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, quinoa, flour and cereals from naturally gluten-free cereals (e.g. millet, buckwheat), rice flakes, corn starch, rice and tapioca, ready-made gluten-free flour mixtures, bread and pasta made of gluten-free flour, made by yourself and bought, marked with the “Crossed Ears” sign, rice and corn porridges for children, corn crisps, popcorn, gluten-free oats (with reservations), gluten-free bread crumbs.
Importantly, in the case of people suffering from celiac disease, gluten-free products are also processed products in which, according to the FAO / WHO findings, the gluten content does not exceed 20 ppm (20 mg per kg) and is marked with the international crossed-out ear symbol.
But is gluten really so bad?
Well, as a rule, people with celiac disease should avoid gluten (this disease is based on genetic intolerance to gluten). There are also people who are allergic to gluten or cannot tolerate it for reasons other than celiac disease. There are also diseases that are not directly related to gluten, but its elimination from the diet is beneficial for patients – they are, for example, Hashimoto, autism or some kinds of diabetes.
Other healthy people, however, have no reason to eliminate gluten from their diet. Gluten in no way harms a healthy person. Importantly, it also has no effect on weight and gluten-free diet is not a slimming diet. It also carries a serious risk of a shortage of certain important ingredients. For this reason, the decision to eliminate gluten from the diet should be well thought out and consulted with a doctor.