Gluten-free diet is one of today’s remarkable nutrition methods. This is an enlightening article on what is gluten, tips on gluten-free diet. Gluten, found in grains such as barley, wheat, and rye, is a protein group that creates the net-like structure of the dough used in bakery products such as bread and bagels, and gives elasticity to the dough. Here a useful video on gluten.
Is Gluten Free Diet Necessary or Healthy For Everyone?
Although gluten is associated with various diseases such as celiac disease, wheat allergy , non-celiac gluten sensitivity , wheat intolerance syndrome , there is no evidence that the general population should be fed a gluten-free diet.
Why have we been hearing celiac or gluten sensitivity more often in recent years? Is it because of the spread of the disease or the improvement of diagnostic criteria? Previously there was not that much cancer, because it could not be diagnosed. Likewise, as the information and advancement of medical treatment increases, it is not only called celiac anymore, but it is diagnosed after genetic analysis.
Therefore, there is no reason why healthy individuals should have a gluten-free diet. Also, there may be negative changes in the intestinal flora of healthy adults who voluntarily start eating gluten-free. According to a recent study (here), it is found that Globally, 5% of the population should avoid gluten due to a gluten-related disease. However, the study also highlights that with affect of self-prescribed gluten-free diet, those who have a gluten free diet including healthy individuals, reaches 12- 25% of the population.
Gluten is not a starter of celiac or similar diseases. ESPGHAN (The European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition) does not find appropriate to feed babies with food containing gluten before 4 months and after 7 months when starting additional foods in baby nutrition. Hence, it is suggested that the baby should be introduced to foods containing gluten in this interval.
Therefore, if you are healthy, there is no actual need to begin gluten free diets. However, If you are diagnosed with celiac disease, you definitely should start a gluten free diet.
Tips For Gluten Free Diet
Many people assume that with avoiding bread can be enough for gluten-free life. But gluten is found mostly in wheat and barley. Even if the grain of wheat is avoided, its flour is used in wide range of various products in food industry. Hence you should notice:
* Eating bread with gluten-free flour is not enough.
* The content of packaged foods or ready-made food products should be known, gluten-free ones should be preferred. They are approximately 2 times more expensive than standard ones.
* Eating at a restaurant should be avoided. Even if the chicken is grilled, etc., it is not suitable for consumption as there may be gluten residue in its sauce, cooking area and equipment.
* Gluten is used in cosmetics and cleaning materials. You should use those that do not contain them.
* Your food should not be at a close distance with gluten-containing foods at home (see cross contamination)
* Tools used for cooking and preparation should be separated if other members of the family are not eating gluten-free (oven, toaster, pots, etc.).
* There is gluten on the edges of materials such as cardboard cups, adhesive parts of envelopes. Touching them should be avoided.
Again, You do not need to do any of these if you have no celiac disease or any other gluten-related illness. However, you would not be gluten-free by simply not eating bread.