Gluten-free diets have become very popular in recent years, but many people do not know or understand what the real benefits are, or even what gluten is. No worries, because Majestic Bakery & Cafe is here to help answer these questions!
So what is gluten, anyway?
Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in grains like wheat, rye, and barley. It causes illness in people with celiac disease and gluten allergies.
What is the difference between celiac disease and gluten allergy?
When someone with celiac disease eats even tiny amounts of gluten, their immune system attacks the the lining of the small intestine, causing inflammation. This can lead to malnutrition. Approximately 1 in 100 people has celiac disease.
Gluten allergy, intolerance, or sensitivity (officially referred to as "non-celiac gluten sensitivity," or NCGS), is a separate condition from celiac disease. It is thought to be more common than celiac disease. NCGS is when ingestion of gluten causes the body to have a stress response that does not involve the immune system. However, both conditions have intestinal symptoms, such as bloating and pain, and symptoms outside the digestive tract, such as fatigue.
Why should I eat gluten-free foods (even if I don't have celiac disease or NCGS)?
Here are five reasons to go gluten-free!
1. Humans don’t fully digest wheat.
The undigested portions of wheat begin to ferment, producing gas.
2. Wheat is a pro-inflammatory agent.
A pro-inflammatory agent is rapidly converted to sugar, causing a rise in the body’s insulin level and then a burst of inflammation at the cellular level.
3. Refined wheat has little nutritional value.
Manufacturers actually have to enrich refined wheat because they take out all the nutrients in the process. And even then, the wheat is not very nutritionally valuable.
4. Wheat is one of the top-eight allergens.
Millions of people are allergic to wheat — so many, in fact, that it has made it onto the top-eight allergen list.
5. Many people have gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, and don’t know it.
1 in 100 people has celiac disease, but most don’t know it. No one knows how many people have gluten sensitivity, but estimates are that it may be as high as 50 percent, or even 70 percent, of the population.
Sources: WebMD, For Dummies, NutriSavings