Is gluten natural or is it a man-made additive? With so many cases of gluten intolerance and Coeliac disease on the rise in Australia and worldwide, it’s becoming more of a concern day by day. More and more people yearn to understand gluten and its consequences. Unfortunately, gluten is frequently misunderstood, as are self-diagnosed cases of gluten intolerance.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a naturally-occurring protein that’s predominantly found in grain-based foods. In particular, wheat, rye, and barley all contain gluten. Moreover, it’s commonly used as a thickening agent in many processed foods. The bottom line is that gluten is ubiquitous and as such creating a gluten-free diet can leave you with seemingly limited options.
Why is Gluten Harmful?
If gluten is natural, then why are so many people trying to avoid it? There’s a growing number of cases, both self-diagnosed as well as by medical diagnosis of gluten intolerance and Coeliac disease. In fact, gluten negatively affects everyone, but most people are able to tolerate a certain amount until feeling symptoms.
Some of the health problems associated with gluten are:
- Irritable bowel disease;
- Chronic fatigue;
- Psychiatric issues.
With so many downsides to gluten consumption, anyone can stand to benefit from a reduction or elimination of gluten in their diet.
How Does Gluten Affect Your Health?
Gluten consumption affects the human body in three main ways:
- Gluten proteins aren’t broken down easily by stomach enzymes. They therefore create digestion difficulties and reduce intestinal flora, which can destroy gut lining.
- Some strands of the gluten protein are similar to those present in bacteria and viruses. In the event that these proteins enter the bloodstream, the body will send out antibodies to attack them, resulting in acute inflammation and joint pain.
- The molecular structure of gluten can sometimes mimic that of human tissue. This triggers an autoimmune response and can also result in inflammation and chronic fatigue.
Is it Worth Going Gluten-Free?
People have been consuming bread full of glutens since at least as far back as Biblical times, so why all the fuss in recent decades? With the growing number of gluten intolerant and Coeliac cases, as well as more recent medical journals publishing the dangers of gluten consumption, there seems to be definite advantages for anyone wishing to reduce or eliminate gluten from their diets.
What to Consider Before Adopting a Gluten-Free Diet
Gluten-free diets are often mistakenly referred to as fads. Gluten intolerance is not a lifestyle choice and it’s no joke, either. This hasn’t stopped the marketing of various gluten-free foods as though it were a fad, however, resulting in many overly processed foods that, although they may be gluten-free, may further compound existing health problems related to digestion.
There are two main options for those wishing to pursue a gluten-free diet:
- Consume more fresh fruits and vegetables, which contain no gluten and are more easily digestible;
- Look for whole foods and foods that are as natural as possible. Baked goods and prepared meals should be fresh.
Try a Gluten-Free Diet Today
With so many upsides to gluten-free living, you may be wondering where to start. The bad news is that so many foods contain gluten in one form or another. Therefore, grocery shopping with gluten-free foods in mind can be a real challenge, since it’s seemingly everywhere.
On the other hand, many grocers and bakeries in Australia such as Gluten Free 4 U sell many great-tasting, gluten-free foods that often taste just like the “real” thing, if not better. At Gluten Free 4 U, our breads, savouries, sweets, and all of our other baked goods are made completely gluten-free, and many of our foods are also dairy and yeast-free as well. We deliver to multiple locations across Australia, so come by or have us come visit you today!