What Exactly Does Gluten Do to Your Body?

Dec 24, 2018 by

Developments in technology and research methods have led to a deeper understanding of nutrition. As a natural reaction to this, many diets have sprung up over the years, hand in hand with new insight about how food may affect our bodies in different ways. Some put the cart before the horse and base themselves on unreliable studies, while some have more solid evidence to back them up.


Among these, you may have come across one or more forms of a gluten-free diet. Gluten has had a bad reputation for quite some time now, as seen in the various diets that exclude it. There’s been talk of it being the culprit behind a swathe of illnesses. But is all the bad publicity justified?


In other words, what exactly does gluten do to your body? And is a gluten-free diet a good idea?


Before we answer these questions, we need to define what gluten actually is. Gluten is a protein commonly found in grains like barley or wheat (though some, like corn, buckwheat, and rice, are gluten-free). Its original purpose is to feed a plant’s embryo while germinating, but it’s also the stuff that makes dough sticky and elastic. Gluten is typically divided into two classes: gliadin, which makes dough rise when baked; and glutenin, which gives dough its stretchiness.


That’s all fine, but how does that impact us? What good, or bad, does gluten bring to the table, so to speak?


There is research that suggests that quite a few health benefits can be attributed to gluten consumption.


For one, it has been inferred that gluten can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes from manifesting. Secondly, another study points to the possibility that gluten may make us less likely to suffer from heart disease. Given how common the two are, it might not be a good idea to avoid gluten-rich foods without a valid reason.


Beyond that, it contains trace amounts of minerals like calcium, and it feeds gut bacteria, improving overall intestinal flora and health. Gluten in your diet was also shown to reduce the chances of a stroke and heart disease.


All of this doesn’t make gluten a perfect food, however. Links have been made between gluten and some rather serious health issues.


One of the main problems appears in people with celiac disease. Celiac disease or spruce makes your body see gluten as an impostor, triggering an immune response to its ingestion and attacking it along with the gut walls, causing a plethora of symptoms like fatigue, headaches, and rashes. This clearly makes it a very bad idea to eat anything with gluten.


Furthermore, a lot of people are also gluten sensitive, which isn’t as bad as being diagnosed with celiac disease, but still makes consuming gluten an uncomfortable experience. Even worse, some studies have shown a link between gluten ingestion and an increased risk of brain disease or disorders like anxiety and depression or so-called mind fog. Autism, certain kinds of schizophrenia and epilepsy seem to be partially treatable by a gluten-free diet.


From all of this one can conclude that a gluten-free diet does have some merit to it, though the extent of the benefits varies depending on whom you ask. Seeing that it can trigger quite a few negative reactions, creating a nutrition plan based on avoiding gluten makes sense for gluten-sensitive individuals.  If you wish to learn more about gluten-free dieting, you may do so with the excellent Infographic below.


Gluten-Free Life Infographic

In this huge treasure trove of insightful infographic, you will find everything a gluten-free life entails that you need to know about, such as what to eat, what to avoid, and how to find places that serve gluten-free food. It’s crammed with all sorts of useful tips and facts, so it’s a great starter for anyone looking to rid their lives of gluten.

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