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Foods That Contain Harmful Gluten? Here Are The Facts

The emergence of digestive disorders in some people after consuming foods that contain gluten makes this substance considered harmful to health. However, is that right?

Gluten is a type of protein found in wheat and barley. Because it is found in wheat and barley, gluten automatically is also found in foods made from these grains.

Is Gluten Dangerous for Everyone?

The danger of consuming foods that contain gluten only applies to people who have certain diseases or medical conditions, namely:

1. Celiac disease

In people who suffer from this disease, the consumption of foods containing gluten will trigger inflammation and damage the surface of the small intestine, thereby interfering with the absorption of nutrients.

When consuming food containing gluten, people with celiac disease can experience diarrhea, constipation, and flatulence. In addition to disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, sufferers can experience anemia, osteoporosis, neurological diseases, skin, and heart disease. Therefore, sufferers of celiac disease must avoid gluten.

2. Non-celiac gluten intolerance

Some people experience symptoms and complaints similar to those with celiac disease after eating foods containing gluten, such as digestive disorders, headaches, weakness, and joint pain. But after being examined by a doctor, no abnormalities were found in the intestine.

Even so, just like sufferers of celiac disease, people who have gluten intolerance should also avoid foods that contain gluten.

3. Certain autoimmune diseases

Numerous studies have shown that sufferers of certain autoimmune diseases, such as Hashimoto's disease, Grave's disease, and rheumatoid arthritis, have a risk of suffering from celiac disease. If you suffer from one of these autoimmune diseases, you are advised to undergo a gluten-free diet.

4. Other intestinal diseases

Gluten is also thought to cause complaints in patients with irritable bowel syndrome and inflammation of the intestine. Therefore, sufferers of both conditions need to avoid foods that contain gluten.

What foods are high in gluten?

Foods that are rich in gluten include:

  • Wheat
  • Spelled
  • Rye
  • Barley
  • Bread
  • Pasta
  • Cereal
  • Beer
  • Cakes, cookies, and pastry

Gluten-free grains

Gluten-free grains include:

  • Corn
  • Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Flax
  • Millet
  • Sorghum
  • Tapioca
  • Buckwheat
  • Arrowroot
  • Amaranth
  • Oats

Then, what are gluten-free foods?

Many food sources are naturally free of gluten:

  • Meat
  • Fish and seafood
  • Egg
  • Dairy products
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Peas
  • Nuts
  • Bulbs
  • Fats, like oil and butter

Tips for a Gluten-Free Diet

One study did show that a gluten-free diet can have a positive effect on heart health and weight control, but this has more to do with general food consumption and is not specific.

You may choose to eat gluten-free food even if you don't have the above health problems. However, they still, pay attention to the nutritional content in food products that will be consumed.

When on a gluten-free diet, of course, you will avoid all types of foods made from wheat and barley. The danger is that when avoiding these foods, you will be prone to experiencing a deficiency of B vitamins, fiber, zinc, and iron. Therefore, try to meet the intake of nutrients by consuming vegetables, fruits, and low-fat meat.

You also need to be more critical of processed food products that are claimed to be gluten-free, because they are not necessarily healthier. Research shows that processed foods that are gluten-free usually contain lots of processed carbohydrates, sugars, salt, and fats which are harmful if consumed in excessive amounts.

In addition, gluten-free processed foods usually do not contain much protein, folic acid (vitamin B9), niacin (vitamin B3), and other B vitamins that are needed by the body.

In conclusion, eating foods that contain gluten can indeed be dangerous in people who have certain medical conditions. If you do indeed suffer from celiac disease, intolerance to gluten, or autoimmune disease, a gluten-free diet will have a positive impact on your health.

But if you do not have these conditions, you may only consume foods that contain gluten. When in doubt, consult with your doctor to be given a dietary choice that suits your condition.

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