“Gluten-free” is a phrase we’ve seen and heard much more in the Western world in recent years and currently, 1 in 10 people in the UK avoid gluten. But how has our national, gradual move away from gluten emerged, and why are those who aren’t coeliacs embracing the diet too? We look at the in’s and out’s below.
What is gluten?
Gluten defines proteins that are found in wheat and helps food maintain its shape, ensuring it holds together.
Why is gluten harmful to some people?
Gluten has been proven to increase inflammation in your body and whilst this poses no problems for most people, some suffer side effects such as nausea and stomach cramps, which impose on their day-to-day lives.
Ongoing research suggests that those who are lactose intolerant might also be sensitive to gluten, as the case in the protein found in milk is similar to that found in gluten-based foods.
Unusually, in the past, gluten did not appear to be as much of an issue as it is today and some studies suggest mass food production, additives, and pesticides may be responsible for sensitivity and allergies to gluten. Food for thought indeed.
This is one of the reasons many of us are also embracing organic foods, which are undoubtedly better for our body, and indeed, the global food production industry.
What can I do if I think I am gluten intolerant?
If you suspect you might be gluten intolerant, or allergic to gluten, you should contact your GP, who can carry out a blood test to ascertain if you have coeliac disease.
It’s possible that your symptoms could be a sign of some other issue – stomach ulcers and gastritis can have some of the same symptoms as gluten allergies.
If you are gluten intolerant, you may be able to still enjoy gluten-based foods in very small quantities and your GP can suggest some examples that you can occasionally incorporate into your diet.
What can I eat if I’m avoiding gluten?
It’s true, that gluten is found in a number of staple foods including pasta, rice, bread, and crackers – in other words, foods that taste really good!
However, a gluten-free diet is not as constricting as in the past. Nowadays you can find gluten-free pasta, bread, & even crackers. And if you love baking, no need to fret, you can also find gluten-free flour. 😊
Here is a list of foods that are gluten-free.
- Fruits & vegetables
- Seeds & Nuts
- Dairy products
- Lean beef
We hope you now have an understanding of the gluten-free diet – what it looks like and how to follow it. So, take what you’ve learned here and put it into action. Good luck! 😊