Break it Down: What Does Gluten-Free Really Mean?
Gluten-free products are increasing in popularity, and so are gluten-free diets. So, what does gluten-free really mean?
The word gluten translates to “glue” in Latin. This is because gluten helps certain foods maintain their shape. For most of us, consuming gluten doesn’t affect our bodies; however, it’s not the same for everyone. Avoiding gluten is important for people with celiac disease, which is a chronic digestive disorder resulting from an immune reaction to gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, rye, and sometimes oats. Now that you have the backstory, what really is gluten-free, and what does it mean?
As stated before, gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and sometimes oats. About one percent of the population needs diets that are completely gluten-free. These are people with celiac disease. Gluten can cause damage in the lining of the small intestine. Another six percent of the population has a mild reaction to gluten. These people don’t test positive for celiac disease, but they experience the same symptoms, such as gastrointestinal discomfort and distress, when gluten is consumed. These symptoms can go away when gluten is eliminated from their diets. However, the other 93 percent of the population shouldn’t have any issue digesting products that contain gluten.
What Does a Gluten-Free Diet Entail?
– You’d be purchasing more organic products, non-starchy types of foods, fruits, and vegetables.
– Many processed foods contain gluten. Common foods like soy sauce can even have wheat hiding in it.
– Look for words like malt extract, malt flavor, wheat starch, or spelt. Since ingredients don’t usually say gluten, it can be tricky to find what’s gluten-free and what’s not, unless it states it clearly on the packaging.
– Be wary of cereals, oats, soups, sauces, beers, and dried or frozen fruits and veggies.
– Going gluten-free isn’t automatically healthy. Getting rid of gluten doesn’t allow you to just eat anything at any moment. For instance, ice cream is still ice cream, whether it contains gluten or not.
Which Foods Don’t Contain Gluten?
Believe it or not, many different foods are naturally gluten-free. You can get creative with these foods to create delicious recipes that would otherwise contain gluten if purchased at a restaurant or grocery store. This even includes pizza, or that delicious pasta dish from your favorite Italian spot.
– Nut flours
– Zero Impact bars
– Fresh meats
– Fish and other seafood
The professionals at VPX Sports suggest speaking to a professional before you decide to eliminate gluten from your diet.