Is Gluten Harmful For Us?
In my Last blog, “Roti and Rice! What should we eat for diabetes and weight loss ” I provided you an overview of pros and cons of consuming roti and rice. I also added that even if someone is diabetic or obese, both the options are dangerous but still you can go with the “rice” as it is less harmful than roti. Now we know that consumption of wheat roti leads to sugar problem and many hormonal issues but there is one more important reason to avoid wheat roti is presence of Gluten in it. This blog will mainly focus on disadvantages related to gluten and gluten free products available in current market.
What is Gluten? It means “glue”, a type of protein mainly found in wheat, barley, rye and triticale (crossbreed). It is a complex mixture of hundreds of related but distinct proteins or amino acids mainly Gliadin and Glutenin. Gluten is essential to help develop the binding effect in the wheat flour. If the binding is not proper, it will be difficult to form a viable dough. Gluten gives elasticity to dough and keeps it shape intact.
You must be thinking that why am I considering gluten bad when it is a protein beneficial for our body!
Shocking History of Wheat Flour
Here is the Logical reason. Gluten remains partially digested in our body system. Nowadays we are eating genetically modified wheat! Yes, you have read it right. Earlier, the height of the wheat crop used to be 6 to 7 feet and its cultivation was not enough to fulfil the demand of major chunk of the population. Heavy rains or winds became the reasons to damage or destroy such long heighted wheat crops. An American agronomist, Norman Borlaug modified the wheat crop by bringing some genetic changes in it leading to production of short heighted wheat grasses having the total height of about 3 to 4 feet.
Such High Yielding Variety (HYV) seeds of wheat led to an increase in agricultural production also known as “green revolution”. Norman Borlaug got many awards and multiple honors for saving over a billion people worldwide from starvation. He is the, “Father of Green Revolution”.
You must have heard a saying that a coin has two sides. Norman Borlaug received awards for his invention but his research had a negative aspect. That is “Gluten” which no one ever thought of!
This is for your information that Gluten comprises of Glutenin. It contains Amino Acid chain which our digestive enzymes can effortlessly break, absorb and utilize further. But this is not the scenario with the Gliadin because its amino acid chain is slightly different from Glutenin. Our digestive enzymes are unable to break it completely resulting in partially broken chains. Our immune system cannot recognize these partially broken chains. Hence our defense system or immune cells start attacking these chains considering them as foreign bodies.
Drawback of Gluten
The major drawback of Nutrition nowadays is the continuous intake of wheat roti. This leads to non-stop attack on undigested gluten i.e., Gliadin by our immune cells. This further results in damage of neighboring cells giving rise to many complications. The examples are celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or Inflammation. It means that we should never add gluten containing products to our diet. That is the reason we find gluten-free flours introduced by various companies in the market. Gluten can be hidden in many food products so always read the label or ingredient list before buying them.
Gluten free flour is made up of mixture of numerous flours. These can be Almond flour, Rice flour, Tapioca flour and Sorghum flour. Due to the absence of gluten in such flours, the binding property is very poor. So, due to this, it becomes difficult to prepare roti out of it. As a solution, xanthan gum is added with the aim of achieving elasticity of dough.
You already know that Flour falls under the category of carbohydrates and I have been consistently advising you to minimize or avoid carbohydrates in your diet. You can add gluten free flour if you are a beginner and you are trying to switch on to correct nutrition. Correct Nutrition signifies a diet consisting of adequate protein and fat with minimal or no carbohydrates. Our aim should always focus on elimination of carbohydrates which are purely sugars as I told in my previous article, “ Roti or Rice- What should we eat for diabetes and weight loss?”