Recently I see a lot of gluten-free products appearing in the supermarkets: Gluten-free popcorn, gluten-free rice crackers, gluten-free meat, gluten-free water and yes even gluten-free dog food. Why is this upsetting and funny at the same time? Those products never had any gluten to begin with and the industry just takes advantage of the hype and the lack of knowledge.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein naturally found in wheat, rye, and barley. It is often added to bread to increase dough strength, make pasta more spongy and rubbery and granola bars chewier. Corn and rice, however, are natural completely gluten-free.
For people with celiac disease or that are intolerant for gluten, a gluten-free diet is a must. Gluten damages their small intestine and will lead to malabsorption and gastrointestinal problems. For everyone else eating gluten shouldn’t cause any health problems.
The positive side of the gluten-free diet
A gluten-free diet can go two ways. Some people go on a gluten-free diet, eating products that are inherently gluten-free. They choose other grains that don’t contain gluten, eat a lot of fruit and vegetables and eat mainly unprocessed products. Those gluten-free diets are considered to be healthy.
Other people, however, go on a gluten-free diet replacing all products that contain gluten with the gluten-free version of this product. Gluten-free products are usually higher in fat and sugar and contain fewer fibers, vitamins, and minerals than normal whole food. Those gluten-free diets are helping the economy but not your health.
For people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance the popular upraise of gluten-free is a good thing. Suddenly there is a whole new product line with products that are similar to gluten-containing products but without the gluten.
- Blog post: Food labels