We already knew about the existence of gluten from 1728, but he was present in our diet for thousands of years, and maybe even longer. All products made from cereals of wheat, barley, rye and triticale are abundant in gluten. We also find it in some products that have nothing to do with cereals, for example in hams, sauces and sweets.
Structurally, gluten is included in the protein family, although in fact it is a combination of two other gliadin and glutenin proteins. Its name comes from the Latin word gluten and means glue – which should not come as a surprise, given that gluten is responsible for the cohesiveness of bread.
In recent years, we have been observing an increase in interest in diets that completely exclude this ingredient from the diet. Although there are conditions such as celiac disease, which evidently force people to exclude gluten – some people, without contacting a specialist, make the decision to switch to a gluten-free diet,
Emotions and beliefs not supported by specific information have led to the creation of many myths about gluten. Four of them will be explained in this article.
Gluten consumption leads to the deposition of adipose tissue
When any nutrient is demonized, it is only a matter of time before someone gives a password. That’s it! and then the rumor is spreading in the crowd – and no one ever really knows where it came from.
In this case, the intake of gluten has been associated with a very specific type of adipose tissue, namely a visceral variant that is accumulated around the organs.
Reliable scientific research does not confirm this belief. Dr Nicola Kewnow conducted an analysis in 2010, which included a series of studies comparing the consumption of low- and highly-processed bread and their effect on visceral obesity. The results indicated that only the consumption of white bread is associated with the accumulation of adipose tissue, whole wheat bread has the opposite effect, however, both fractions are a rich source of gluten.
Gluten affects our brain and works drugfully
This myth is a bit more difficult because there is a grain of truth in it.
During the digestion and absorption of gluten, gluten peptides are formed – small substances, of which we distinguish 5 varieties. They have been classified as exorphins, ie compounds that can penetrate the blood-brain barrier and affect opioid receptors, resulting in our behavior. The above translation is theoretically true, but there are a few that put a question mark over the practical side of this argumentation
– studies showing the possible impact of gluten peptides on opioid receptors have been carried out either in the laboratory on isolated cells or on rats. Although studies on rats are valuable, they used ready-made gluten peptides, not gluten alone. It’s a bit like comparing wine and grapes, and then saying that they have the same effect on our body. Worse yet, in these studies in rats, gluten peptides were often given not orally, as logic would require, but intravenously. Under these conditions changes in behavior were indeed observed, e.g. rats receiving a dose of peptides after training showed … better learning abilities;
– a perfect study would show that in humans after consuming products with gluten, the concentration of gluten peptides increases, which have a significant negative impact on behavior and cognitive abilities. However, such a study has not been carried out;
– similar exorphins are produced not only after consumption of products with gluten, but also dairy, rice, spinach and meat. Should we also avoid them?
Gluten leads to weakening of bones
In people with celiac disease, gluten actually induces an inflammatory response that eventually leads to an attack on bone structure. However, healthy people do not have to be afraid of it.
As Dr. A. Jenkins showed, in the study, where one of the groups was fed with a large amount of bread enriched with gluten, even an increase in the balance of minerals was shown, which indicates their greater accumulation in the body. The researchers concluded that a diet rich in protein and gluten does not have a negative effect on the calcium balance.
A gluten-free diet is healthy and has no shortages
Exclusion from the diet of gluten for many people means a large castling of the menu, as well as throwing out products rich in vitamins from the kitchen and minerals. Unfortunately, often the result is a diet that does not provide all the micronutrients.
Of course, this is not a rule, and a gluten-free diet can be arranged so that it is healthy and nutritious. However, people who engage in unsupervised specialists commit numerous nutritional errors. This was demonstrated by a study carried out in 2010 in Warsaw. 42 women were examined using a gluten-free diet, the content of nutrients was checked and compared to the currently recommended consumption.