Gluten – the very substance that makes the bread you eat, soft and elastic, while keeping the shape of the bread intact. The substance that keeps your pasta and your noodles stick together, while keeping it soft and delicate. The substance that keeps your favourite tea time cracker crispy and light when you take a bite from it, that’s Gluten for you.
Gluten is made up of a mixture of very distinct proteins. It is naturally found in grains and cereals like wheat, barley and rye. Gluten is also found in imitation meats, beer, soy sauce and ketchup.
There are some studies that suggest that gluten can be healthy for your body. They show that consumption of gluten can lower the risk of colorectal cancer. It’s also found to decrease the likelihood of heart disease.
However, there are few people whose bodies naturally tend to refuse it. When they consume gluten, their bodies cannot break down or digest it. Some people have a mild sensitivity to gluten while others have Celiac disease which is a digestive disorder which is caused by abnormal immune reaction to gluten.
About 1% of the population has Celiac disease. It is found to be more common in people with Type 1 diabetes have Celiac disease. That’s why people with diabetes are advised to stay away from gluten. Some of the symptoms of celiac disease observed in children are weight loss, vomiting, abnormal bloating, diarrhoea or constipation, etc. Adults develop symptoms such as anaemia, joint pain and stiffness, fatigue, seizures, numbness and tingling in hands and feet etc.
If you are diabetic or gluten-sensitive, you should avoid foods that contain gluten such as wheat, barley, rye, malt vinegar, soy sauce, noodles, pasta and the likes. Some alternative grains that are gluten-free might be a good idea for you. For example, quinoa, oats, buckwheat, corn, brown rice etc. These grains not only reduce risk of disease, but also contain antioxidants that are quite beneficial for your body.