What is gluten and why is it harmful?

What is gluten? In what products is it contained? Can it hurt your health? Why do many people switch to a gluten-free diet? Answers to these and other questions - read below.

First of all, it is worth knowing that gluten is a complex protein that is a part of the grain of many cereal crops, such as wheat, rye, oats and barley.

Gluten is also called gluten. It makes the dough elastic and affects the speed of its rise when baking. It can be found in all products from wheat, rye, oats, barley and derivatives, it comes in bread, rolls, pita bread, biscuits, bagels, muffins, cakes, pizza, cereals, pasta, beer, etc.

Gluten in ketchup

In addition, gluten is often found in many products, where it is added artificially, to increase the elasticity of the rest of the mass, to give it a shape. It can enter into ketchups, dressings, all kinds of gravy, chips, candy, ice cream, soy sauces, bouillon cubes, frozen vegetables, as well as restaurant fries and vitamins in capsules and tablets.

The technology of gluten extraction from grain is cheap. Gluten practically does not dissolve in water, and to get it, wheat flour is mixed in water - the starch gradually passes into solution, only the insoluble fraction (gluten) remains, which is then precipitated and used for industrial production.

Be attentive to such labels on labels as: "hydrolyzed vegetable protein" and "textured vegetable protein." By all this is meant gluten.

It can even go into cosmetics. First of all it concerns lipstick and powder. Also, pay special attention to the composition of lotions for the body and creams. Many cosmetics include vitamin "E", which is usually obtained from wheat. This means that all of them can contain gluten, although the labels will be shy about it.

Gluten is not absorbed through the skin, but there is always a chance that the cosmetic that contains it (for example, lipstick) will enter the body, and then people with gluten intolerance will have problems.

What is so damaging to gluten?

In the body of people with a genetic predisposition to one of the fract of gluten (gliadins), an inflammatory reaction develops. In patients with celiac disease, the immune system recognizes this protein as an alien and attacks it with all available means. The trouble is that not only gluten gets hit, but also those tissues in which it was met by immune cells. First of all, the walls of the small intestine are damaged.

In addition to the food tract, the brain, heart, joints and other organs suffer. In addition, many people have latent gluten intolerance. Symptoms are poorly expressed and only in a complex can push the doctor to the correct diagnosis, which must be confirmed by a special test.

Despite the fact that celiac disease affects only 1% of the population, according to some estimates, one in three watches one or another immune response to gluten. The saddest thing is that in many cases the protein tolerance test will not give a clear answer.

However, it is noticed that many chronically ill people with an unclear diagnosis after switching to a gluten-free diet feel much better.

Gluten intolerance in healthy people

Why is the problem of gluten intolerance or sensitivity so acute today? The fact is that the wheat that modern man uses for food is very different from the one our ancestors ate. Followers of Michurin during the last two centuries specially selected wheat varieties in the direction of increased protein content, and hence gluten.

Not surprisingly, over the past 200 years, the frequency of celiac disease in the human population has increased by 400%.

On the other hand, the human body is not very well suited for digesting grain - the main food of birds, which have all the necessary enzymes for this.

If you are concerned about frequent abdominal pain, stool disorders, general weakness, anemia, and you suspect a latent gluten intolerance, then a trial diet, with the exception of products containing it, will help determine the correct diagnosis.

However, remember that gluten-free diet refers to therapeutic, and not to hypocaloric. Lose weight with it without any additional restrictions, although it is possible, but difficult.

Yes, if you completely eliminate the flour, you will begin to lose weight. But if you buy special gluten-free products, your hopes for weight loss may not be justified. Many gluten-free foods contain significantly more calories and saturated fats than their ordinary counterparts. Producers try to make buckwheat cookies similar to wheat cookies and add excessive amounts of sugar. Calorie content of such a cookie can be seen on the package. Gluten-free products are sold in large supermarkets next to sugar substitutes and products for diabetics.

Gluten-free Diet for Skin Beauty

For most people sitting on a gluten-free diet, it is prescribed for medical reasons - their gastrointestinal tract is not able to digest one of the cereal proteins - gluten. The components of gluten are simply not split, as expected, but act in the intestines as toxins, cause intoxication, and allergies. Those who suffer from gluten intolerance are diagnosed with "goal-action" and prescribe a gluten-free diet.

In the modern world, crazy for healthy nutrition, nutritionists advise and healthy people to try to reduce the presence of gluten in their menu. The producers of quality food is considered a good tone to put on the packaging the sign "does not contain gluten."

And many scientific experiments say that without gluten products, people not only lose weight but, what is very important, improve the skin condition.

Let's try to live without gluten:

The main rule, which should be remembered for all those who observe the gluten-free diet - wheat, rye, barley and oats (and all products based on them) are prohibited. It is important to remember that not only bread is produced from these cereals, but also pasta, biscuits, pastries, cakes, ice cream in waffle cups, dumplings, vareniki, beer and even mayonnaise with ketchup. Fast food also contains gluten and is therefore banned. Wheat is now added to everything, even in cooked sausage. Therefore, it is better to exclude not only flour, but also semi-finished products. Or buy only those on the packaging of which the "Gluten-Free" is indicated.

Gluten-free menu

You can safely eat buckwheat, rice, corn, vegetables, fruits, legumes, meat and poultry, eggs. Those who can not live without Italian pasta, it is worth looking for pasta from rice flour in shops - they differ from usual light colors and are marked with a crossed-out spike on the package, which means - does not contain gluten.

For those who do not imagine a life without bread, special gluten-free flour is produced. In Russia it is still rare, but on our favorite site iherb is sold in any form and is inexpensive. Look for her in a special department. If you have a bread maker at home, try to buy just this flour and cook the dough without gluten.

Gluten-Free Recipes

A real bacillus for those sitting on a gluten-free diet can become corn grits. Grind it in a food processor or coffee grinder, boil with constant stirring for 30 minutes. Put the resulting mass on a dish and let it freeze. So just cooks polenta - a traditional dish of the southern provinces of Spain, which you can eat as bread, but you can make a casserole with tomatoes and cheese on its basis.

Rice is also an indispensable product for those who observe a gluten-free diet. From rice, you can cook puddings and casseroles with fruit, not to mention sushi and rolls. Rice is rich in carbohydrates like pasta, but there is no gluten in it at all.

Cakes, pasta and cookies can be made from buckwheat flour. If you did not manage to buy flour, just chop the buckwheat in the food processor. However, do not expect to bake real buckwheat from buckwheat flour - just because such flour does not contain gluten, it never rises, no matter how much soda you add to it. In addition, buckwheat cakes are a dish for an amateur, since they turn out to be rather dry and easily crumbled.

Health-improving effect

It is possible to talk enthusiastically about gluten-free recipes, but to be honest, without wheat, the menu becomes much more boring. A gluten-free diet for a long time is only able to those to whom it is prescribed for medical reasons. But try to exclude gluten for at least a few weeks.

Even one month on a gluten-free diet can have a powerful healing effect, especially if you have skin problems - a tendency to rashes, acne. If you decide to live without gluten, you still need vitamin supplements, since gluten-free foods have a deficiency of B vitamins and folic acid.

Gluten in children's nutrition: what is it and why is it harmful?

Gluten is a water-insoluble protein found in many cereal plants - wheat, rye, barley, oats, etc. In translation from Latin, "gluten" means glue, hence its second name is gluten.

Gluten is found in many cereal plants - wheat, rye, barley, oats, etc. In translation from Latin, "gluten" means glue, hence its second name is gluten. It is an inexpensive natural substance that is isolated from plant products. Gluten gives the flour, diluted with water, the elasticity and elasticity of the dough.

In addition, gluten is also a preservative: for example, the addition of its dry extract to the flour lengthens the shelf life of the finished bread. For this reason, it is advantageous for manufacturers to introduce it into the formulation of food products to give them some useful properties. Here they add gluten, and not only in the dough products (bread, cakes, pizza, pasta), but also in meat products - sausage, ham, sausages and sausages, in frozen cutlets and dumplings, in milk yoghurts, in Ready breakfast cereals, as well as canned food, some sorts of cheese, ketchup and other sauces, spices, spices, concentrated soups and broth cubes, crab sticks, oriental sweets and chocolate sweets with stuffing.

In addition to food products, gluten is found in cosmetics, as well as in the shell of drugs, produced in the form of a drage. It would seem, the use of gluten brings a solid pluses. In fact, not everything is so straightforward.

With a fairly intensive consumption of products containing gluten (natural or added to food artificially), it is deposited on the walls of the intestine and significantly worsens its work. Possessing pronounced "gluing" properties, gluten helps to reduce intestinal permeability and thus makes digestion difficult. And not even gluten itself is dangerous, and peptide chains are amino acids linked together in a certain order, which are obtained during the splitting of gluten in the process of digestion. However, despite the relative harmfulness of gluten, it is rather difficult to do without its use. For example, bread and other flour products are an important source of valuable B vitamins.

Gluten intolerance

Symptoms of gluten intolerance appear in a baby two to four weeks after the administration of gluten-containing foods: there are pains in the abdomen, diarrhea, the baby ceases to gain weight, becomes capricious. To avoid such unpleasant prospects, it is recommended to feed babies only with mother's milk until 6 months. If breastfeeding is not possible, the crumb is fed with milk formulas. Gluten in them is not in principle, because there is no added flour.

True, there is starch there. But potato or corn starch does not contain gluten under any circumstances, and wheat starch itself does not contain gluten, although a certain amount can get into it during the processing of flour. Therefore, if a child does not receive breast milk for up to six months, you can safely give him a mixture. True, if there are patients with celiac disease (a disease in which gluten damages the mucous membrane of the small intestine, which leads to atrophy and severe impairment of absorption), the mother should give preference to corn and potato, and not wheat starch in the mixture.

After six months, at the beginning of the introduction of complementary foods, babies should buy baby food that does not contain gluten. Therefore, in the store, study the composition of the product and make sure that it contains no gluten. Fortunately, many manufacturers place an icon in the form of a crossed ears on the baby food package, which means the absence of gluten.

When you enter the diet of cereals, pediatricians are advised to start with gluten-free - from rice, buckwheat and corn flour. But oatmeal and wheat porridge (do not forget that semolina cereal - the same wheat!), As well as all sorts of biscuits, crackers and other delicacies made from wheat flour, children do not need to give at all to 9 months. Afterwards start offering the baby gluten-containing foods, but little by little, starting with just a few crumbs. And the main thing is to carefully monitor the health of a small eater, fixing any deviations. If you notice a characteristic change in the stool (it looks "fat", glitters and very poorly washed off), increased gas formation, abdominal pain and near the navel, if he loses weight and his appetite decreases, then the use of gluten-containing foods You need to stop and show the crumbs to the pediatrician. Perhaps the doctor will give him a special examination to exclude celiac disease.

Why gluten is harmful: celiac disease

There is a special category of children to whom gluten will be contraindicated throughout life, because it is absolutely toxic to their body. In these cases, it is not just an allergic reaction to food, but a specific disease called celiac disease. Getting into the digestive tract of a child, a patient with celiac disease, gluten causes atrophy of the villi of the intestines, because of which nutrients, vitamins and minerals are very poorly absorbed into the walls and, consequently, into the blood. This disease can be both congenital and acquired (for example, after intestinal infections), and its symptoms are very diverse. In children under two years, celiac disease is manifested by diarrhea, bloating, exhaustion, lagging behind in growth and development. For the diagnosis, the doctor assigns a special blood test and a biopsy of the intestinal mucosa to the child, since when this disease begins to progress, the already thin mucous membranes of the intestine of crumbs become even thinner. But drugs for the treatment of this disease do not apply, it is sufficient to adhere to a strict gluten-free diet prescribed by the doctor. True, the patient will have to comply with her all his life.