Gluten comes from a Latin word that means “glue.” In essence that is what gluten i s- it is two proteins that are connected.
These proteins are known as gliadin and glutenin. Gluten is found in many food products that you probably enjoy on a regular basis, such as bagels and bread. It is readily found in barley, rye and wheat.
It wasn’t too long ago that no one had ever heard of gluten but now we are hearing about it all of the time. However before you decide that a gluten-free lifestyle is the best option for you it is worthwhile to become familiar with the facts.
Gluten is the ingredient that gives many of the foods we enjoy that taste and specialness that we appreciate. It is what makes bread and bagels spongy in nature. It is also what makes pizza dough stretchy and pleasurable to sink your teeth into. Gluten is also commonly used as an ingredient in soups and sauces to make them thicker in their consistency.
Eating foods with gluten can cause problems for those who suffer from a chronic digestive disorder known as celiac disease. When the body of a celiac suffer senses the presence of gluten in the digestive track it causes an immune reaction in order to protect itself. Unfortunately this immune response can damage the small intestine. When this happens it gives rise not only to tremendous gastrointestinal discomfort but also to nutritional deficiencies.
If celiac disease remains undiagnosed and therefore untreated it can lead to intestinal cancer. It has also been known to lead to other problems such as osteoporosis and infertility.
Once believed to be a very rare disorder that affected only one person in every 10,000, a study conducted by the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2003 suggested that it is actually more common than once thought. It has been theorized that one in every 133 Americans suffers from this disease. Those who feel ill after eating a piece of bread or a bagel should be checked out by a doctor to determine if celiac disease is the cause.
People on a gluten-free diet feel they have to give up their favorite tasty foods like pizza however, there are many substitutes for wheat in dough and here is some information about gluten-free pizza.
There is also a milder form of disorder that gluten can cause which medical experts have come to call nonceliac gluten sensitivity. This sensitivity to gluten can lead to symptoms that are similar to celiac disease. These symptoms include bloating, stomach cramps and diarrhea. The only difference is that a gluten sensitivity will not do damage to the intestine. It is believed that as many as 20 million Americans may suffer from a nonceliac gluten sensitivity.
Gluten is not bad per se but is definitely to be avoided by those with celiac disease or sensitivity to gluten. Many people have sought out a gluten-free lifestyle to help them to improve other conditions they suffer from as well, such as chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia. While eating a gluten-free diet may help some individuals it is not a cure-all for everything.