What Is Gluten And How Can It Cause Health Problems?

Jun 16


Victor Hill

Victor Hill

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With relationship to acne, allergies, osteoporosis, and other conditions, it shouldn't be a surprise there's so much interest in gluten. But what exactly is gluten?


Sensitivity to gluten has become a hot topic these days. Because of its connections to acne,What Is Gluten And How Can It Cause Health Problems? Articles osteoporosis, allergies, and other conditions, it shouldn't be a surprise there's so much interest in gluten. But what exactly is gluten? How can it effect your health? And why does it matter anyway? These are some of the questions we'll tackle now.

To start, let's define what gluten is and is not. Gluten is a substance (technically a protein) that is found in certain grains. Gluten isn't a bacteria, virus, or some kind of artificial food additive. It is a naturally occuring part of the grains in which it is found, and these grains are called "gluten grains".

Gluten occurs naturally in just these grains: wheat, barley, and rye. Whenever you eat any amount of any of those grains, you are eating gluten. This includes flours made from these grains, as well as any other foods made from these grains, such as beer, pretzels, and bread.

Gluten can cause health problems because in certain individuals, it causes damage to the intestinal lining and also causes the immune system to malfunction. This leads to a whole host of problems, including anemia, autoimmune diseases, nutrient deficiencies, and more.

Some confusion has arisen over whether oats contain gluten. Unfortunately, the answer is sometimes. While it's true that oats do contain a substance that is similar to gluten, it is different than the gluten found in wheat, barley, and rye. This substance in oats doesn't cause the same health problems for most people. However, the issue lies in cross-contamination. Oats are typcially grown next to gluten grains, and are loaded onto the same trucks and processed in the same machines as gluten grains. This leads to traces of wheat, barley, or rye gluten being found in oats. Shop for labels stating "gluten-free" when purchasing oats to be sure don't contain gluten.

Gluten can also be found in places you wouldn't expect. Fried foods often contain gluten because the foods are dipped in a batter that contains gluten-containing flour before frying. Soy sauce usually contains wheat. Look for tamari instead, it is usually gluten-free. Gluten itself is sometimes added as agent in foods such as candies, to provide texture and consistency.

Gluten grains became an important foundation of our diet around 10,000 years ago, when the first agricultural societies experimented with relying on cereal grains for sustenance. Our dependence on cereal grains, including gluten-containing grains, has become a global phenomenon.

It is interesting to note that the geographical areas that have had the longest exposure to gluten in their diets, also tend to have the lowest incidence of gluten allergy (celiac disease). Common scientific thought on this reveals that it likely takes many generations for our bodies to adapt to eating this gluten as a food. The fact that many of our genomes haven't fully adapted to eating gluten is a likely reason for such a large number of people being sensitive to gluten.

If you suffer from frequent stomach or bowel problems, autoimmune diseases, anemia, arthritis, or skin conditions, you should consider that perhaps you too have a sensitivity to gluten.

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