Gluten: to eat or not to eat?

by maria

Bread, pies, pasta of any kind; you most definitely have tasted some of these during the holidays… These foods are full of carbohydrates (you can find relevant info in previous post) and also contain gluten. You may know that some people avoid it and there are products labeled as “gluten free“.

So what is gluten and should we have it or not? It is a protein found in cereal grains such as wheat, rye, oats, barley and semolina. It is one of the basic proteins in these plants and it basically gives elasticity to dough and bread, gluing it up and making it easier for us to chew.

Not all cereals contain gluten. Millet, buckwheat, quinoa, rice and corn are some of gluten free, while oats may contain some small amount.

There are people intolerant to gluten, which means they cannot properly absorb it and various symptoms occur (stomach ache, vomiting, tiredness etc). Most common of these conditions is celiac disease, but there are also gluten allergy conditions.

People with the above situations should not consume gluten. However, gluten-free food do not contain all necessary nutrients and has more fat and sugar. Their consumption should be avoided if not medically justified as it may be related to health problems, such as heart disease, nutritional deficiencies and increased weight gain.

Source: “The Body Book”, Cameron Diaz και Sandra Bar

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