Present in almost all foods, especially industrialized ones, the consumption of gluten has become common. Get to know this ingredient better and understand what it causes in your body!

What is gluten and what is it for?

It is considered a type of protein, or rather, a set of proteins. In addition, it is normally found in wheat, barley, rye, among other cereals. The combination of the proteins gliadin and glutenin are what form it. Its use in cooking is not new, as it has been used for many centuries.

Its greatest utility is when it is combined with water. The mixture between the two forms an almost glue-like consistency. For those who have made homemade bread or pasta, it is not difficult to imagine that acquired consistency. By adding gluten in a dough it is possible to make it more elastic, so it does not break during preparation. In other words, it offers flexibility, but also firmness.

Currently, the offer of gluten-free products is greater, but you still have to be careful. Although it is present in so many foods, it can be detrimental to health even for those who are not intolerant.

What harm does gluten produce?

If you are a person who has an intolerance to gluten, this substance can be harmful, as can people with celiac disease. But gluten is also linked to many other conditions.

  1. Decreases the production of well-being hormones: Serotonin is the hormone that provides the feeling of well-being and happiness. By acting toxicly in the brain ¹ , gluten decreases the production of this hormone in the body. With this, you will suffer symptoms such as instability of mood, agitation, anxiety or even aggressiveness.
  2. Increases the formation of fat: during the digestion of gluten, the body releases inflammatory substances. These are precisely the substances that stimulate the formation of fat. But it is not only that: in that process, it continues to increase the production of cholesterol.
  3. Harmful for people with celiac disease: Gluten leads to atrophy of the intestinal villi. With this, the individual sees their ability to absorb nutrients diminish.
  4. Skin allergies : the skin can also have reactions to gluten. As it irritates the gastric mucosa, it can cause skin allergies ² . Ingestion can cause dermatitis herpetiformis with lesions such as blisters and wounds.
  5. Migraine: Although it is a rarer manifestation, it can also cause headaches and migraine.
  6. Affects oral health: It should be noted that the ingredient can cause aphthous stomatitis. This is because its malabsorption reduces calcium levels, which also damages the health of the teeth.
  7. Fatigue – Consuming too much gluten can cause low energy levels. That leads to tiredness and weakness.

It does not take gluten intolerance to be damaged by it. Bloating and increased gas, for example, are the most typical symptoms of the discomfort caused. Any individual, healthy or not, can be affected by them.

Can gluten make us fat?

The association of gluten with weight gain is very common . In fact, that has to do with the addictive effect mentioned earlier. When you eat gluten, you feel like eating more, but it is usually the foods you eat more that cause you to gain weight.

You have to understand that it is not really the ingredient that causes weight gain. It is an indirect factor that leads to the consumption of caloric foods. It has much more to do with its influence on the brain than on the stomach. Meanwhile, for those who want to lose weight, it is good to avoid excessive consumption.

It is probably because of the addictive effect that a person who eats a cookie cannot limit himself to it. If you eat one piece of pizza, you will probably eat two. If you open a bar of chocolate, you have to fight not to eat all of it at once. So this protein found in cereals can lead to extra weight.

Gluten intolerance

The intolerance to gluten may have several phases. Some have a small intolerance, basically a sensitivity to certain foods with it. On the other hand, some agree with the celiac disease, mentioned above, which is even more serious.

Intolerance causes various symptoms of discomfort in patients. The problem is that it is often not diagnosed or is slow to do so. Both adults and children can have the problem of being intolerant to gluten .

There are many complications that can appear associated with the disease. Some of the most common that could be mentioned are diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, anemia, hair loss, sudden weight loss and cramps are just some of them. In fact, even those without the disease can have some type of gluten sensitivity , causing almost the same conditions.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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