What the Heck is Gluten, Anyway?

Be honest: Do you really know what gluten is? It’s ok, we’re not judging. We know there’s a lot of confusion out there about the gluten-free craze, and the truth is there’s a lot of misinformation being spread around about gluten.

Just take a look at this quite hilarious video from Jimmy Kimmel Live where random people on the street are asked if they know what gluten is.

So, as you can see, if you don’t know what gluten is, don’t worry. You aren’t alone.

What is Gluten?

Gluten refers to a combination of proteins (prolamin and glutelin proteins, if you want to get all scientific) that exist in specific grains, such as wheat, rye, barley, and their derivatives. That means you’ll find gluten in so many different foods and drinks, including breads, pastas, pancakes, sauces, beer, cereals, and a whole lot more.

Why are People Going Gluten-Free?

The gluten-free diet has become increasingly popular over the last few years. And while you might think it’s nothing more than another diet fad, you’d be wrong. For many people, eating gluten can lead to bad results. Many have to ditch gluten for medical reasons, because they suffer from Celiac Disease and consuming gluten can cause some serious intestinal problems and a host of other issues.

What exactly happens when someone with Celiac Disease eats gluten? The gluten actually causes an autoimmune response in the person’s body. It causes inflammation throughout the intestinal tract, and it can seriously damage the small intestines. As a result, this blocks the absorption of essential nutrients in the body which can lead to very serious nutrient and vitamin deficiencies in the individual.

But what if you don’t have Celiac Disease…do you really need to go gluten-free or cut back on gluten?

It depends, but consider the following:

 

  • For every 1 person that has been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, there are 6.4 people with the disease who are undiagnosed.
  • Millions of people with Celiac Disease haven’t been diagnosed.
  • An estimated 7%-30% of people experience non-Celiac gluten sensitivity, meaning consuming gluten affects them adversely even if they don’t have Celiac Disease.

 

So, what are we supposed to do with all of this information? Does this mean you should immediately stop consuming all gluten right this moment? Probably not.

The truth is we’re still learning a lot about gluten intolerance and its effects on the body. Many people don’t need to go gluten-free. However, if you’re experiencing any symptoms like bloating, gas, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, and other digestive issues, it might be worth trying to go without gluten for a few weeks to see how you feel. Or at the very least, cut back on your gluten some to see if you feel any different.

Remember, there are a lot of great gluten-free options out there these days. Many restaurants offer delicious gluten-free dishes for diners, and grocery stores have more gluten-free products by the day. And of course, there’s always Little Soya gluten-free soy sauce – Your Everything Sauce! Everyone loves Little Soya, whether they have gluten intolerance or not, thanks to its amazing umami flavor. Cutting back on gluten is easier than you think!

 

 

 

 

 

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