Gluten-free seems to be a big thing these days, and it seems like more and more people are turning toward a gluten-free diet. But, is this simply a fad, or is there a little more to it than that? Well, the simple answer is that it’s a little of both. Originally, gluten intolerance was the thing that made people seek out a gluten-free diet, though in recent years it has become more of a fad diet.
But, before we get all judgy, it’s important to look at what exactly gluten is. When we understand this, we will be better placed to see and understand why people choose to omit gluten from their diets. As one of the most talked about elements of modern nutrition, we feel like we should learn a little more about what gluten is and how it relates to diet.
So what actually is gluten?
Well ignoring the hearsay and occasional misinformation fired at us about gluten, we felt it best to see what the experts had to say. Gluten, the experts define, is a combination of two proteins found in things like wheat, oats, and barley. A meeting of protein minds, if you will. When it gets wet, it becomes stretchy and sticky, and when it’s heated up, it becomes light and airy. This is why gluten plays such a big role in so many baked products, such as bread and cake. Without gluten, the food would fall apart because there would be nothing holding it together.
We know that gluten basically makes up the majority of baked goods, and for most people that is a big thumbs up! However, there are some people for whom gluten is actually a negative rather than a positive. Gluten can cause the development of celiac disease, as well as non-celiac wheat sensitivity. These can both be incredibly unpleasant conditions and cause no end of pain and discomfort. Interestingly, even though 40% of people carry the gene for celiac disease, it is believed that as low as 1% of people actually develop it.
Celiac disease cannot be cured, but it can be kept at bay by making sure you avoid gluten entirely – even a little bit will be enough to trigger an allergic reaction. Because people have gone on a gluten-free diet for some time, this has revealed unexpected health benefits. And, the great thing is that more and more gluten-free products are being created and sold these days. This has allowed people to adopt a gluten-free diet for the purposes of improving health, as opposed to any sort of medical condition. In fact, there are other ailments that can be attributed to gluten, and this is one of the reasons why we have the modern trend of people going gluten-free more often now.
As you can see, there are a great deal of reasons why gluten can be a negative thing, and this is largely what has led to more and more people adopting diets free of gluten. The next time you think about possibly judging someone for going gluten-free you might want to stop and consider the health reasons behind their choice. In fact, you might even decide that this is the right choice for you and your diet moving forward!