The Meaning of Gluten-Free
Gluten free means foods that do not have gluten. Commonly found in wheat, gluten is a type of protein. It is also found in barley and rye. Gluten is the ingredient that gives dough its elasticity. Some topical beauty treatments use gluten.
Gluten is used extensively as a food additive. Its property to thicken is beneficial in giving rigidity to highly fluid substances. Many types of confectionery use this protein as a flavoring agent.
Benefits of a Gluten-Free Diet
In the past decade, many people have switched over to a gluten free diet. They go all out to ensure that the food they eat does not contain gluten. You may see a lot of gluten-free packaged foods at grocery stores. Although many people prefer a gluten free diet, they really don’t understand the health benefits of a gluten free diet.
The Sudden Popularity of Gluten-Free Food
- Recently many people have been diagnosed with celiac disease. These people have high sensitivity to gluten. It makes their condition worse. So a gluten free diet is prescribed by their doctors.
- Additionally, many nutritionists feel that a gluten free diet has other benefits too. It has been linked to a marked decrease in cholesterol levels. It promotes optimum functioning of the digestive system. Food devoid of gluten is said to increase energy and efficiency levels, because gluten is said to produce lethargy and lower cognition levels.
- Food researchers feel that avoiding gluten is avoiding certain types of food that use this substance. Which means that you are effectively avoiding unhealthy food. All the more reason to get healthy quickly.
- Considering that fried foods, deserts, and confectionary use gluten, you will completely avoid them. And in the process experience better health levels.
Processed Foods Contain Gluten
- Quite interestingly, it has been discovered that some famous processed foods manufacturers use gluten. This is an open secret. What was inconspicuous by its absence some time back is in the lime light now. People have begun consciously avoiding processed foods.
- Processed foods may provide ready availability and easiness of consumption. But they are full of artificial flavoring and preservatives. And not to mention that they are high in gluten.
- A gluten free diet entails you to eat non-processed food. This means you eat more of fruits and vegetables. You buy organic stuff more. You are always on the lookout for non-starchy types of foods.
- A gluten free diet spares you of unhealthy oils. Some bread products may look inviting but they are harmful to the health. Why? Simply because they have unhealthy carbohydrates. A common instance of such a bread product is pastries. Even if they taste good, most pastries have unhealthy carbohydrates.
- It is understood, accepted, and established throughout the medical field that a non-gluten diet is good for the heart. Certain cancers can be avoided by not using gluten. There is lower risk of diabetes for people who are off gluten forever.
- A gluten free diet fortifies your immune system. You can fight off micro organic invaders with ease. Your body is stronger and with added resistance. This is achieved because as part of a gluten free diet you eat foods that are rich in antioxidants and vitamins. These are the essential ingredients that ward off infections.
Be Cautious with a Gluten-Free Diet
A gluten free diet can help you lose weight naturally and permanently. But you have to eat a balanced diet. You cannot expect to lose weight with only gluten free diets. If a gluten free diet is combined with other types of balanced meals, you can expect favorable results.
Be picky with your selection of vegetables and fruits. You need to do your research on which vegetables and fruits contain gluten and which do not. For instance potatoes are gluten free. And so is rice. Interestingly, pasta can be gluten free as well, as well as gluten free soy sauce in the mix. When you buy a pasta product check the ingredient list. You will most probably find no mention of gluten on the pack cover.
So what you need to be cautious about? Some manufacturers may hoodwink you by providing the wrong information o their packaging. Ingredient lists on food packages may not indicate the presence of gluten. But in reality these foods will have good quantities of gluten. Don’t go for replacement products. Always choose branded products.
Foods That are Gluten-Free
Many grain varieties are gluten free. Potatoes, rice, and corn are considered to be excellent foods considering they have no traces of gluten. Beans such as soybean are an excellent source of protein. So you can use these beans as a source of protein in foods that are gluten free. Even nut flours can be used to enhance the protein content of your food without the presence of gluten in it.
Wheat flour should be completely avoided as it contains high concentrations of gluten. Almond flour can be used in lieu of wheat flour. Even buckwheat flour is in this league of wheat flour alternatives. If you explore more, you’d be surprised that there are many types of flours that are gluten free. For instance, gram flour does not contain any traces of gluten. And gram flour has many applications in the food space.
To be truly gluten free, just avoiding foods that contain gluten is not enough. Some over the counter medication may have gluten in them. Even some vitamin supplements have gluten in them. You are advised to refrain from using cosmetics that contain gluten. There are certain types of lipsticks that use a high concentration of gluten.
Before buying a lip balm product check if it contains gluten. Cosmetics generally display the presence or absence of this substance on their packaging covers. Certain face creams and lotions also contain gluten on account of gluten’s thickening properties.
Gluten comes in various forms, manifestations and combinations. Initially it could be tough staying away from it. But eventually you will learn where it can be found and where it cannot be found. And this is your way to begin a lifestyle that is gluten free.
Government Gluten-Free Regulations
- The product may not contain any of the following gluten proteins: wheat, tritical, kamut, barley, oats, rye or spelt.
- None of the ingredients may contain forms of proteins that have been modified or hydrolyzed from the above grains.
- The gluten-free product may not contain more than 20 ppm(parts per million). This is implemented due to the possibilities of cross contamination.
- It is good to note that the majority of companies take great care of their practices in manufacturing the gluten-free products in order to prevent as much cross contamination as possible.
- All ingredients used in the products that are from a gluten grain have been process in a way to remove the gluten protein which causes symptoms. Ingredients that are able to handle this process are wheat glucose syrup and wheat maltodextrin.
- A government recognized testing method has been used to determine if the gluten-free product is less than 20 ppm.
- Each product must be specifically designed and formulated to be eaten within a persons gluten-free diet in order to best represent their health.
Because of the last regulation many companies that have made gluten-free products will not have ‘gluten-free’ on their packages.