Everything about gluten and a gluten-free diet
Gluten is a protein, really!
First, let's briefly explain what gluten is. Gluten is a protein naturally found in wheat, rye, barley, spelt and kamut. Gluten can be found in bread, crackers, pizza, pasta, breadcrumbs, biscuits, cakes and pies. There are still many people who think that gluten is only in bread. Who don't know that if they want to avoid gluten , they really have to avoid a lot more than just their sandwich. You name a product and chances are high that it contains gluten. It is also in many products where you often do not expect it. For example in ready-made meals or packets of soup (binding agent, vermicelli or meat), in sauces, candies, ice cream, beer and even in mascara.
Oats are often contaminated and therefore not necessarily safe to use in a gluten-free diet. Because of the above, people with a gluten intolerance are also adept label readers. Food containing gluten damages the lining of the small intestine in people with celiac disease. As a result, the intestine cannot do its job properly. In case of long-term damage to the intestines, important nutrients are no longer properly absorbed.
Hands up if you are against gluten!
Today everyone is concerned with gluten; 'My intestines cannot tolerate gluten', 'Bread (gluten) makes you fat', 'The gluten in bread keeps you eating and you don't get saturated' etc. These are often statements made by people who do not suffer from celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Because someone with a gluten intolerance doesn't like all those statements at all! Because they MUST pay attention day and night (read: avoid gluten!). Otherwise they will get complaints. And these are not complaints that go away without danger such as with a lactose intolerance, with celiac disease eating gluten has major consequences for your intestines.
The advantage for people with celiac disease is that it is currently a hype to avoid gluten as much as possible, this means that gluten-free products are becoming more common and easily available and the demand is increasing. In addition to the fact that the price often drops (eventually), there is also more choice! Because in the past you could only go to small health shops for your gluten-free bread. And then you wouldn't have the guts to compare it with normal bread, because then you'd really be disappointed. No, but now the possibilities are endless. More and more avid bloggers and chefs are experimenting with gluten-free recipes and there are also more and more gluten-free products available. Hooray Hooray!
The 'gluten free' standard
When is a product actually gluten-free? Gluten-free literally means that there is no gluten in it. But this is not feasible in practice for many diet products. The standard 'gluten-free' has been established at European level and is less than 20 mg gluten per kg of product (also <20 ppm). Someone who has become ill from eating gluten may experience diarrhea, stomach pain, moodiness or constipation. In addition, there are many other complaints. Unfortunately, the complaints are sometimes confused with other conditions, so a diagnosis is often delayed.
If you are in doubt or experience complaints, you should of course see a doctor and have a test done to find out if you suffer from coeliac condition. The sooner the diagnosis is made and you can start with a 100% gluten-free diet the better.
On a diet for life
Someone who has a gluten intolerance should stick to a diet 24 hours a day for the rest of his or her life. This sounds very strict and actually it is! I have often spoken to people with celiac disease who, on the one hand, are very happy that more people are trying to avoid gluten (especially since it is now a hype), but on the other hand also get angry at the thought that those people "do it because they like it". People with celiac disease have no choice but must if they want to prevent complaints.
Advantages that gluten-free gets more publicity
- The replacement bread is becoming much tastier
- More and more products are being made gluten-free
- More attention is paid to the production environment (this must also be gluten-free)
- You no longer have to be ashamed in restaurants
- The menu is suddenly a lot more interesting, you can suddenly choose from 5 or 6 dishes!
- The special diet products become cheaper
- It is more socially accepted
- And because people understand it better, they will think along with you!
Which foods are naturally gluten-free
- Fruit and vegetables (juice from 100% fruit is also gluten-free)
- Rice, legumes (kidney beans, capuchins, lentils and soybeans) and potatoes
- Millet, corn or teff are gluten-free grains
- Unprocessed meat, chicken, fish and game
- Eggs , milk, yoghurt and quark
- Butter and oil
- Cheese from the cow, goat and sheep
- Nuts, seeds and kernels
In short, for people with celiac disease, gluten-free food is not a choice, but a necessity. But it is difficult to say whether everyone should start eating gluten-free because we did not eat bread a long time ago and for some people it doesn't do their intestines any good is hard to say. It is important to eat a healthy and varied diet! For example, bread contains a lot of fiber and iodine, if you eliminate this form of gluten from your diet, it is important that you provide good replacements for fiber and iodine.
Whether gluten avoidance is a trend that will remain in the future, when more research is done, will remain to be seen. For now, everyone should do what they feel comfortable doing!