Gluten is the primary storage protein present in wheat grains. It is a mixture of many proteins. A similar type of protein is present in rye named scaling, avenins in oat and hordein in barley collectively referred as gluten. Gluten is mainly present in yeast-enriched bakery items like Pasta, Noodles, Pastries, Doughnuts, cookies, Croutons, and Beer. The yeast in these items releases carbon dioxide and other gases the gluten compounds trap the gases and cause the bread to rise. There are also some hidden sources of gluten like sausages, cold cuts, candies, and potato chips and even some medicines and cosmetics contain gluten as an ingredient.
Gluten contains agents that are resistant to gastric issues, the pancreatic, and digesting ability of the intestine. This difficulty in digestion creates amino acids and glutamine and proline. These proline compounds create a complex structure that creates adverse reactions of immunity and results in celiac disease. In the small intestine, there are tiny hair-like structures called “villi” that absorb nutrition from the food. A person suffering from celiac disease when ingests a gluten-rich diet, the villi triggers an autoimmune reaction on interaction with gluten, and their ability to absorb nutrition gets compromised. The patient suffers from malnutrition, anemia, or sometimes osteoporosis, and sometimes suffers from muscles fatigue, menstrual problems, skin rashes, and mouth sores. If the person keeps ingesting a gluten-rich diet, it can cause liver disorders and in extreme cases bowel cancer.
The “gluten-free diet” is a diet that is exclusive of gluten protein. A gluten-free diet is referred to patients who have celiac disease, a self-immune disorder in which a person becomes gluten intolerant and ingesting a gluten-rich diet causes inflammation in their small intestines. Gluten-rich diet is not a diet that can suit everyone, as for people who suffer from celiac disease, gluten causes inflammation. A gluten-free diet is referred to in these patients as it helps in controlling indigestion and inflammation. A gluten-free diet includes beans, eggs, meat and poultry, fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. While some food items may or may not be gluten-free like beer, candies, salad dressings, seasoned rice, and snacks. While buying such items buyers have to read the labels to make sure their food is gluten-free.
The gluten-free diet has become a trend now and people, despite not having a genetic intolerance to gluten or celiac disease are adopting this diet as a fashion trend. It is more popular among women who are inspired by advertisements and social media and are more health and fitness conscious. Dr. Hyun-seok Kim researched the cases of people who continuously take gluten-free diets, and are not gluten intolerant. In this research, it was found that the people who were initially not gluten intolerant continuously kept a gluten-free diet, and their body is starting to develop gluten intolerance. They are becoming more susceptible to celiac disease and some may develop the disease in near future. The Researcher believed the cause of the popularity of gluten-free diets is the wide availability and the reduced price. She mentioned in her research that every one in five Americans prefer a gluten-free diet.
In another research made by Dr. Daphne Miller of the University of California, it was found that removing a gluten-rich diet in people who are not gluten intolerant also removes some essential components like lactose, fructose, xylitol, and mannitol and may give rise to intestinal complications similar to those that are common in celiac patients. There is also a misconception that going gluten-free will help in weight reduction, which is actually true because not having high-caloric food that has gluten reduces the calorie intake of the person and he or she might suffer from malnutrition. Some social influencers who are suffering from celiac disease describe that when people come and ask her about a gluten-free diet she recommends they analyze whether or not they need a gluten-free diet plan.
The person who suffers from celiac disease has to undergo from a challenging social shift. Those with celiac disease always have to take care of the food they are eating and whether is it or not gluten-free. Those people are commonly misunderstood in society as conservative or choosy in their diet. Families who have one or more gluten-intolerant person have to take care of the person and make separate food for him. These families sometimes have to control their social interaction and have to avoid gatherings and parties, so that the celiac patient does not feel abandoned and develop the mental stress of being the odd one in the family.
In the workplace, there are more risks of gluten contamination. People share the same kitchen, lunch table, and bathroom. There are sometimes complementary lunches from the office containing doughnuts and snacks that are gluten rich, and the person sometimes has to accept the offer and sometimes reject based on the severity of the issue and the person’s own perception of his issue.
While it may sound impossible, there are many people who are suffering from celiac disease but are living their life to the fullest, happily and productively. The key to living with a genetic intolerance is that the person has to plan for himself, choose when and how to accept a party invitation, and decide what is better for his health. A gluten-free diet is not advisable for everyone, if everyone starts opting gluten-free diet it will cause adverse effects on health. However, it takes time for celiac to be accepted in society.