Lets Put It All Together
This has been a lengthy and somewhat in-depth look into what gluten does in our bodies, so Id like to sum it all up for you here.
For individuals who are sensitive to gluten, the following chain reaction can literally be set off every time they eat gluten:
- The problems begin when gluten activates zonulin and contribute to the formation of a leaky gut.
- A leaky gut then allows toxins and undigested particles to enter into the bloodstream and travel throughout the body.
- These toxic substances then trigger our immune system to create inflammation in order to destroy these foreign invaders.
- Continuing to eat gluten on a regular basis leads to a state of chronic inflammation as our body tries to continually fight off these foreign invaders.
- And, finally, our body may begin to attack its own tissues that just happen to be similar in structure to gluten, such as our thyroid.
Yikes! This chain of events is definitely not something any of us want going on in our bodies because it truly can have a dramatic impact on our health.
Mussels In White Wine
Packed with protein, omega-3s, and a cache of energy-boosting B vitamins, shellfish make an ideal way to start a meal, or simply add a salad to the side, and you can call it a full meal for dinner. Build a flavor base with onions, garlic, and other aromatics, then add the mussels and enough liquid to create some steam. Cover and cook until they pop open, about 5 minutes or so. And make sure you have plenty of crusty bread for dunking in the sumptuous broth at the bottom of the bowl. No leftovers left behind!
Get our recipe for Mussels in White Wine.
What Is Gluten And What Does It Do
Gluten seems to be in just about everything, from bread, pasta and beer to cosmetics and nutritional supplements. Theres lots of buzz around avoiding gluten, but what is this common ingredient and is it really bad for you? Johns Hopkins specialist in internal medicine and obesity Selvi Rajagopal, M.D., explains facts and misconceptions about gluten.
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Coexisting Diabetes And Celiac Disease: Special Challenges
For patients with concurrent diabetes and celiac disease, the gluten-free diet must be carefully planned to meet nutritional needs while controlling blood glucose. This is best accomplished through consultation with a registered dietitian nutritionist who is experienced in treating celiac disease and diabetes. The carbohydrate and fat content of gluten-free foods often is higher than in gluten-containing foods . In addition, the fiber content is typically lower, particularly if individuals eat the majority of grain servings in the form of rice-based, refined, and processed foods. Early studies in this area found that gluten-free foods may have a higher glycemic index than comparable gluten-containing foods, but more recent research does not support this conclusion . It is important for patients to read the labels of gluten-free foods for carbohydrate content and because serving sizes may differ from those of similar gluten-containing foods.
Foods To Avoid With A Gluten Intolerance
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Many people avoid gluten, a group of proteins found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye, due to personal preference or a medical condition .
Celiac disease, wheat allergy, and non-celiac gluten sensitivity all involve an adverse reaction to gluten and are treated with a gluten-free diet. These conditions are considered forms of gluten intolerance .
While both celiac disease and NCGS may lead to intestinal damage and cause symptoms like diarrhea, gas, and bloating, celiac is an autoimmune condition linked to other serious health effects, such as anemia, stunted growth, and neurological effects .
Wheat allergy refers to an allergic reaction to wheat proteins, the symptoms of which may be life threatening. This condition is treated with a wheat-free diet, not necessarily a gluten-free diet .
Although people with wheat allergies must avoid wheat, most are able to eat other grains, including gluten-containing ones like barley and rye.
Meanwhile, people with celiac disease and NCGS must avoid all gluten-containing foods to control symptoms. Notably, many healthy foods are naturally gluten-free, and quite a few companies make scrumptious gluten-free products.
Here are 8 foods to avoid if you have a gluten intolerance, as well as 7 you can safely eat.
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Does Glutinous Rice Contain Gluten
Sometimes gluten shows up in unexpected places, and sometimes it isn’t there when you think it would be. According to The Kitchn, that’s the case for glutinous rice, commonly known as sticky rice. Confusingly, “glutinous” doesn’t mean filled with gluten . Rather, glutinous is a little-used word that means gluey or gummy . While gluten is sticky, it’s not the substance responsible for glutinous rice’s distinctive texture. That honor goes to a type of starch called amylopectin that traps moisture and makes rice stick together. We have amylopectin to thank for the addictive mouthfeel of treats like mochi, sticky rice cakes, and Thai mango rice.
Glutinous rice is safe for celiacs and people with other forms of gluten intolerance. If you order it at a restaurant, however, you should ask about how it was prepared, as there’s a chance it could become contaminated with gluten during the cooking process.
How Is Gluten Used In Cooking
Mastering the art of working with wheat-based doughs is all about controlling gluten formation. Modernist Cuisine explains that the amount of gluten in a dough is a result of the type of flour you use, how much water you add, and how long you mix it for. More water and mixing creates more gluten, and high-protein bread flour has more gluten than cake flour does. You can also encourage gluten development by adding salt, or restrict it by adding fat. The appropriate technique depends on your desired end result. If you’re making a chewy artisan loaf, you want as much gluten as possible. For pancakes, biscuits, and cakes, the goal is to try to minimize gluten development to produce a fluffy, soft product.
In its seitan guise, gluten can be cooked in most of the same ways you would prepare meat . It can be ground into a substitute for hamburger, stir-fried, tossed on the grill, deep-fried, or simmered. Just remember to go heavy on seasoning, as you need to compensate for its inherent blandness.
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Research On Gluten And Diabetes
There is significantly more research on gluten and type 1 diabetes than gluten and type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes diagnosis usually presents before celiac disease
This 2015 study from Baltimore and Boston determined that celiac disease occurs in as much as 20 percent of people with type 1 diabetes.
Additionally, it determined that type 1 diabetes generally develops first. In patients in which the celiac disease developed first, the onset of their type 1 diabetes was notably later in life than average.
Lastly, patients who develop both celiac disease and type 1 diabetes tended to develop type 1 diabetes at a younger age compared to patients with type 1 diabetes who never developed celiac disease.
Type 1 diabetes and celiac disease have overlapping genetic determinants
The same study from Baltimore and Boston also found that celiac disease and type 1 diabetes have several overlapping genetic risk factors. The HLA-DQ2 and DQ8 genes have both been pinpointed as significant determinants of developing either disease.
Mothers high gluten consumption during pregnancy increases the childs risk of type 1 diabetes
This 2018 study from Denmark found that women with the highest gluten consumption during pregnancy significantly increased the risk of type 1 diabetes in their child, essentially doubling the risk.
Gluten-free diet significantly reduced the incidence of type 1 diabetes in mice
Gluten consumption leads to leptin resistance which contributes to obesity and type 2 diabetes
Wheat Has More Gluten Today Than It Did In The Past
Wheat has undergone some minor changes over the years, and farmers have always tried to improve and modify their crops over time. However, the gluten content in modern wheat is probably quite similar overall to wheat from long ago. A study analyzed wheat samples and found no evidence that the gluten content is any greater than before.
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Do Gluten Free Pizzas Have Fewer Calories
You may have heard that gluten-free pizza is lower in calories than traditional pizza. But does it really have fewer calories?
In general, the answer is no. Gluten-free pizza can be as high or low in calories as regular pizza. The type of crust, toppings and cheeses you choose will determine how many calories are in your slice.
Gluten-free crusts are typically made with rice flour, tapioca starch or cornmeal. Some gluten-free pizzas use a combination of these ingredients. Other gluten-free crusts may be made with almond meal or coconut flour.
If you choose a thick-crust gluten-free pizza with toppings like pepperoni and mushrooms, youll likely end up eating just as many calories as if you had ordered a large cheese pizza with extra toppings at your local chain restaurant.
However, if you order a thin-crust gluten-free pizza without any meat or extra cheese, then its possible for your slice to have fewer calories than some other options on the menu especially if you opt for one of the healthier toppings like spinach or mushrooms instead of sausage or pepperoni.
Why Do People Go Gluten Free
People go gluten free for a variety of reasons, often the main misconception is that gluten is a root cause of health issues, or a ticket to weight loss. Gluten typically isnât an issue for the majority of people but for those who have celiac disease or a wheat allergy, it can be very dangerous.
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Avoidance Of Excess Calories
In a study presented in Europe, an analysis of the nutritional composition of foods in a GFD versus their gluten-containing counterparts revealed that the foods for a GFD had significantly more calories, protein, saturated fatty acids, and often sugar. Over 600 products were evaluated and this disparity was found particularly in breads, pizzas, and flours.
Three Reasons To Go Gluten Free And Three Reasons Not To
Sitting on top of the hot list of todays diet fads is the gluten-free diet. People with certain medical conditions have very good reasons to avoid gluten, the gluey, chewy protein found in wheat, kamut, spelt, rye, barley, triticale and malt. But there are equally good reasons not to go gluten free if you dont have to. Here are the top three reasons on each side of the issue.
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Symptoms Of Gluten Intolerance
- Digestive discomfort after meals
- Weight loss
- Foul or strong-smelling feces
You may only experience a handful of these symptoms or you may have nearly none at all. In celiac disease, the lining of the small intestines and the bodys overall inflammation levels are gradually increasing. The longer you continue to consume gluten, the strong the symptoms will usually become.
People With Dermatitis Herpetiformis
Dermatitis herpetiformis is when gluten triggers a severe rash on the elbows, knees, head, buttocks, and torso. Most people with dermatitis herpetiformis will also experience the same small intestinal damage as those with celiac disease.
However, unlike people with celiac disease, dermatitis herpetiformis patients might not experience digestive symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or constipation.
A gluten-free diet is recommended to treat dermatitis herpetiformis, although medications can also help control symptoms in the short term.
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Health Benefits Of Gluten
Gluten is a form of protein present in wheat, barley, rye and other grains. Gluten is what makes dough rise and stay elastic. Gluten is often used to make seitan, a meat alternative used by vegetarians to make faux chicken, faux beef and other vegetarian foods. Gluten is sometimes added to other foods to increase their protein content.
Can Gluten Be Harmful To People Who Arent Gluten Intolerant Or Sensitive
This is a question that hasnt been conclusively answered by science at this point, with various studies and anecdotal evidence pointing in different directions.
What we present below are the most compelling reasons for and against eating gluten, but please take these opinions and studies for what they are: early-stage scientific findings and indicators of possible negative effects not conclusive evidence that eating gluten is harmful to everybody!
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You Can Diagnose Yourself With Gluten Intolerance
Celiac disease is characterized by an extreme reaction to gluten wherein eating gluten can seriously damage the small intestine due to an immune response. People with celiac disease are typically diagnosed by a doctor. Some people who experience a less severe reaction, however, try to diagnose themselves, either with an allergy or intolerance. Both of these conditions should be diagnosed only by a medical doctor. Research shows that many people who believe they have an allergy or intolerance to a food actually do not. Before jumping to conclusions, you might want to consider other factors that could be making you feel ill. Stress about food, nutrient deficiencies, or other dietary abnormalities could cause indigestion.
What Is A Gluten
This is essentially a diet that removes all foods containing or contaminated with gluten. However, since gluten-containing whole grains contain fiber and nutrients including B vitamins, magnesium, and iron, its important to make up for these missing nutrients. Along with consuming naturally gluten-free foods in their whole form like fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, fish, eggs, and poultry, the following whole grains are also inherently gluten-free:
- Gluten-free oats
Its also key not to rely on processed gluten-free foods that may be high in calories, sugar, saturated fat, and sodium and low in nutrients, such as gluten-free cookies, chips, and other snack foods. Often, these foods are made with processed unfortified rice, tapioca, corn, or potato flours.
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Three Reasons Not To Go Gluten Free