So, gluten – origin. from lat. “glue”, “gluten” is a mixture of wheat proteins. Many people (namely, every 133rd, according to statistics) have developed an intolerance to it, which is called celiac disease. Celiac disease is the absence of a pancreatic enzyme that helps process gluten. In other words, in patients with celiac disease, there is a violation of the absorption of gluten in the intestine.
Gluten in its purest form is a gray sticky mass, it is easy to obtain if you mix wheat flour and water in equal proportions, knead a tight dough and rinse it under cold water until it decreases several times. The resulting mass is also called seitan or wheat meat. It is pure protein – 70% in 100 grams.
Where is gluten found other than wheat? In all cereals derived from wheat: bulgur, couscous, semolina, spelt, as well as in rye and barley. And it is worth noting that gluten is found not only in premium wheat flour, but also in whole grains.
In addition, gluten can be found in various processed foods, canned foods, yogurt, malt extract, ready-made soups, french fries (often sprinkled with flour), processed cheese, mayonnaise, ketchup, soy sauce, marinades, sausage, breaded foods, ice cream, syrups , oat bran, beer, vodka, sweets and other products. Moreover, manufacturers often “hide” it in the composition under other names (dextrin, fermented grain extract, hydrolyzed malt extract, phytosphygnosin extract, tocopherol, hydrolyzate, maltodextrin, amino-peptide complex, yeast extract, modified food starch, hydrolyzed protein, caramel color and others).
Let’s look at the main signs of gluten sensitivity. First of all, they include irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, rashes. The following conditions are also possible (which can also be caused by various diseases, including gluten intolerance): persistent ailments, mental disorders, convulsions, irresistible cravings for sweets, anxiety, depression, migraines, autism, spasms, nausea, urticaria, rashes, seizures, chest pain, dairy intolerance, bone pain, osteoporosis, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, alcoholism, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, autoimmune diseases (diabetes, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis) and others. If you have any of these conditions, try cutting out gluten for a while after talking to your doctor. In addition, to find out if your body is sensitive to gluten, you can do a special test on an outpatient basis.
David Perlmutter, MD, a practicing neurologist and member of the American Academy of Nutrition, in his book Food and the Brain, talks about how gluten has a negative impact not only on the intestines, but also on other body systems, including. and brain.
Numerous studies show that people with celiac disease generate free radicals at a much higher rate. And due to the fact that gluten negatively affects the immune system, the body’s ability to absorb and produce antioxidants is reduced. The response of the immune system to gluten leads to the activation of cytokines, molecules that signal inflammation. An increase in the cytokine content in the blood is one of the signs of the emerging Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases (from depression to autism and memory loss).
Many will try to argue with the statement that gluten has a negative effect on our body (yes, “all our ancestors, grandparents used wheat, and it would seem that everything was always good”). No matter how strange it may sound, indeed, “gluten is not the same now” … Modern production makes it possible to grow wheat with a gluten content 40 times higher than 50 years ago. It’s all about new breeding methods. And so today’s grains are much more addictive.
So what is a substitute for gluten? There are many options. It is easy to replace wheat flour in baking with gluten-free corn, buckwheat, coconut, amaranth, flaxseed, hemp, pumpkin, rice or quinoa flours. Bread can also be replaced with corn and buckwheat bread. As for processed and canned foods, it is best to limit them in any type of diet.
Life without gluten is not at all boring, as it may seem at first glance. At your disposal are: all kinds of vegetables and fruits, buckwheat, rice, millet, sorghum, corn, legumes (beans, lentils, peas, chickpeas) and many other products. The term “gluten-free” becomes as vague as “organic” and “bio” and does not guarantee the absolute usefulness of the product, so you still need to read the composition on the labels.
We are not saying that gluten should be completely eliminated from the diet. However, we recommend that you do a tolerance test, and if you feel even the slightest sign of feeling unwell after eating products containing gluten, try to exclude this element and observe – perhaps in just 3 weeks the state of your body will change. For those who have never noticed any difficulties in the absorption and tolerance of gluten, we want to recommend at least partially limiting gluten-containing foods in their diet. Without fanaticism, but with concern for your health.