Wheat and rice have always dominated the Indian palate. We are so much enslaved by our habits,
that a whole meal seems incomplete minus these must-have staples. We had been so content and
in love with our plate of food, until recently when the term “Gluten” began making several
appearances in tabloids, blogs and write-ups by dietitians and doctors around the world. Just what
is it in this newly found term which has made us talk about gluten-free diet!?
So what is this sudden overused term…gluten? Why is gluten getting its fair share of praises and
Gluten is the key to providing the airy crumb to cupcakes and the chewiness to bread. It is in all
obvious places, from pasta to bread, oatmeal to salad dressings, from our desi roti and paratha to
rice. The family of proteins, Gluten, is found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye with the two
main gluten proteins being gliadin and glutenin. But not all kinds of food-grains contain gluten,
some exceptions being quinoa, corn, brown rice, millet, teff and a few more.
There are multitudes of people out there who consume diets loaded with gluten. It’s important to
break the myth therefore. No, just because your diet has gluten, doesn’t mean you need to flee from
your much-loved plate and seek other options rightaway. Certainly not all of us are gluten-sensitive;
even fewer of us are gluten-intolerant and celiac, the latter two being severe conditions led due to
excess gluten in diet. Hence, no, this isn’t a call out for a medical emergency for all of us!
Having said that, more and more cases of gluten sensitivity and intolerances are coming to light each
day, leading to rising consciousness. Hence the need to arm ourselves with the real harm caused by
gluten (remember, precaution is better than cure!) as also understand the pro’s of switiching to a gluten-free diet.
The cons first. As against a permissible average of xyz% gluten in daily diet, an average Indian
consumes abc%. Some immediate side effects and a few quick health checks:
● If you happen to have an allergy from wheat, the proteins found in wheat, which might
include gluten, can have a serious reaction to your body.
● The autoimmune disorder known as celiac disease results in the immune system to attack the
small intestine lining when gluten is consumed. The damages make it difficult for the body to
absorb nutrients and proteins.
● Gluten can also lead to gut inflammation which can be a problem for almost everyone. The
inflammation can further lead to increase in intestinal permeability.
● In many cases people also have gluten insensitivity in which one experiences cramps,
bloating, gas and constipation right after the consumption of gluten in any form.
● Symptoms are mostly gut-related when we talk about gluten, but the other organ at stake is
the brain. Fatigue and brain fog are major symptoms of gluten sensitivity.
● Though rare, gluten can also result in dermatitis herpetoformis which includes symptoms
like raised blisters, red rash and itching on the skin.
Are you wondering “well all this isn’t for me”? You may not be gluten-insensitive, but have you
ever wondered the pro’s of shifting to a gluten-free diet? Gluten-free food makes us feel light and
therefore more energetic. Influencers in the health, fitness and wellness category are increasingly
suggesting shift to a gluten-free diet to avoid future complexities (remember, today you aren’t
gluten-insensitive, but tomorrow is another day!) and to feel lighter in the body and therefore
fitter and more energetic.
Switching to healthier options mostly always comes with a compromise in taste, doesn’t it?
“Oh no, I got to really diet now”, “Today is a cheat day”, “Hey, am off –diet today”…all of these
much-said lines spring from the taste-sacrifice we all make during a strict diet. So, here’s great
news for you guys! Sprinng Food, a new entrant in India, with its partner in the UK, brings you
gluten-free breads, cakes and muffins without compromising on taste. Yes, you heard that right!
Now you can feel light in the body without cutting back on the yum quotient!
Watch out for this space for more soon…
Be on the alert. Gluten harms. Let’s switch to food which has less or no gluten. Watch out this space