I was shopping at HEB and noticed a gluten free aisle. Really? Gluten free? This is the same store that dedicates an entire aisle to barbeque products. And I noticed boxes of sugary cereal with gluten free labels proudly stamped on them.
So what’s the deal with gluten free food? Is it really better for you? If so, why? Here’s what I found out:
Definition: Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Wheat, rye and barley are used to make foods such as flour, bread, and beer. They are also used in many processed foods.
Celiac: About 1% of the population has been diagnosed with celiac, which is intolerance to gluten and can cause diarrhea, intestinal pain, weight loss and can increase chances of gastrointestinal cancer. For people with this problem a gluten-free diet is the perfect cure.
Gluten sensitivity: The consensus of most of the medical websites I checked says about 18 million Americans have what’s known as gluten sensitivity. (That’s about 6% of the population.) Symptoms include bloating, abdominal pain and diarrhea. (Good times!) A gluten-free diet works wonders here too.
Question: What about everyone else? Does a gluten-free diet benefit people who process gluten just fine?
Answer: Sort of. Know why? Because a gluten-free diet does not allow things like fried foods (breading) and fried foods are high in calories and fat. Flour is used to make such diet-busting foods as cakes, breads and pastries; a gluten-free diet eliminates that. Know what doesn’t have gluten in it? Fruits and vegetables; a staple of every healthy diet.
Now my question to all you nutrition/clean eating people out there is this: If your not gluten sensitive is there a benefit to eating foods like gluten-free flour? Any information you could share would be greatly appreciated, as I’m trying to really learn about nutrition.
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