What do you mean by gluten?
Gluten is a protein that is found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye, etc. It is known
for its sticky consistency (thickness) when mixed with water. This sticky property of
gluten helps in creating a sticky network that gives the dough the ability to rise when
cooked. It also gives bread, chapati a chewy and satisfying texture. But, many
people feel uncomfortable after eating foods containing gluten or some people
exclude it from their diet to lose weight and we call it a gluten-free diet.
As the name suggests, a gluten-free diet does not contain gluten – the protein in foods. It is
recommended mostly for patients who are suffering from “celiac disease” (in which
eating gluten leads to damage in the small intestine) and other medical conditions
linked with gluten, like; gluten sensitivity. However, a gluten-free diet is popular
among people without gluten-related medical conditions, but there is a little clinical
evidence about the health benefits of a gluten-free diet in the general population as
most of the studies have been conducted on people with celiac disease.
If your body is not tolerant to gluten, then you need to avoid it completely. If not, then
you will experience some discomfort and adverse health effects.
Health Benefits of a Gluten-Free Diet:
● Relief from digestive symptoms
● Can help in reducing chronic inflammation in celiac disease patients
● Boosts energy
● Can help you lose weight
Following a gluten-free diet needs paying careful attention to the foods
Fresh foods are allowed :
● Fruits and vegetables
● Beans, seeds, and nuts in their natural & unprocessed forms
● Lean, no- processed meats, fish & poultry
● Most low-fat dairy products
Foods to Eat in Gluten-Free Diet:
Some foods are naturally gluten-free like:
● Meats and fish, except the processed one.
● Dairy products- plain milk, plain yogurt, and cheese. Avoid flavored ones.
● All types of fruits and vegetables
● Grains: Quinoa, rice, buckwheat, corn, millet, amaranth, arrowroot, and oats (if
● Starchy foods: Potatoes, potato flour, corn, corn flour, chickpea flour, soy
flour, almond meal/flour, coconut flour.
● All nuts and seeds.
● Fats: All vegetable oils and butter.
● All herbs and spices.
● Beverages: Most beverages, except beer (unless labeled as gluten-free)
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Foods containing gluten:
● All wheat-based bread.
● All wheat-based pasta.
● Cereals: Unless labeled as gluten-free.
● Baked products: Cakes, cookies, muffins, pizza, bread crumbs, and pastries.
● Snack foods: Candy, crackers, ready to eat foods, roasted nuts, flavored chips and
● Sauces: Soy sauce, salad dressings.
● Beverages: flavored alcoholic beverages.
In today’s era, most of the people depend on ready-to-eat or processed foods which
contain gluten. Hence, it becomes more important for people with celiac disease, to
read the labels while purchasing.
You need to read labels to determine if the food contains gluten. Foods that contain
wheat, barley, rye or any ingredient which is derived from gluten must be labeled
with the name of the grain in the labeling list.
Processed foods that contain gluten:
Wheat or wheat gluten is added for flavoring, or coloring, as a thickening or binding
agent, so, it’s important to read labels of processed foods to determine if they contain
gluten or not.
In general, try to avoid the following foods unless they’re labeled as gluten-free or
made with corn, rice, soy or other gluten-free grain.
● Cakes and pies
Is it helpful in losing weight?
There’s no evidence that excluding gluten from the diet will surely result in weight loss.
But, it can help you in your weight loss journey, as eating gluten-free food lead you
to eat more whole, unprocessed foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, and lean
meats. These foods are healthy and are low in calories, helping in weight loss.
People on a gluten-free diet also tend to make healthier food choices and to remain
aware of the need to read food labels.