The Boon, the Bane, and the Basics of Gluten

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Bread and pasta for lunch? Sure! For a lot of us, eating can be that simple (and pleasurable). But for some that are not so lucky, being this carefree about their next meal could mean serious health consequences. 

Aside from the typical food allergens, there is that dreaded gluten, that 05%-1.22% [5] of the adult population in the Asia-Pacific Region, and about 20 million in the US alone, have to worry about. 

What is gluten?

We constantly see a lot of articles about gluten being published as of late. However, some fail to address the basic question before giving it a bad rap. So first things first! 

Gluten is basically a mixture of different types of protein activated by water that provides elasticity and form to the final product of almost all breads and pastries that we love. It is generally found in wheat, barley, rye, malt, triticale, and even brewer’s yeast. 

Majority of the population do not experience an adverse reaction when consuming gluten. Nevertheless, certain medical conditions require avoiding the said protein combination. This includes Celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and wheat allergy. Since a lot of processed starch sources in what we eat contain gluten, it is necessary for those afflicted to be well informed before adding items to their shopping list.

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Being well informed about gluten

Wheat is one of the most consumed cereals around the world. It is therefore implied that wheat gluten is one of the items that should be watched out for if you belong to the population that needs to avoid it.

Though avoiding sources with gluten can be considered an inconvenience to some extent, preparing a gluten-free food list is quite an easy job. Since gluten is found only in certain grains, other carbohydrates sources such as fruits, vegetables, and root crops are already out of the equation. 

When preparing a list of gluten-free foods, particularly grains that can be alternatives to those gluten-rich grains, remember to include these perfect substitutes, which you can use instead in your meals preps:

  • Buckwheat
  • Corn
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Oats
  • Millet

Based on the grains listed above, there are far more varieties of grains that do not have gluten than those that have it. Filipinos are primarily rice consumers, so it would not be difficult to stick to it during mealtime. However, it is wise to consider the manufacturing process for these grains, since most, like oats, are harvested, packed, and manufactured in the same facilities as wheat. 

Other gluten-free products to consider

Luckily, people who need to avoid gluten are no longer bound to perpetually avoid their go-to comfort foods. Certain methods of gluten extraction and purification paved the way to the innovative production of gluten-free bakery products which we can gluten and non-gluten intolerant alike can all enjoy. Here in the Metro, online shop such as GERALD.ph offers a wide selection of gluten-free products from different kinds of pastries, pasta, and even ice cream, which would certainly help people with gluten concerns live a little more carefreely. 

A gluten-free lifestyle might be overwhelming. But with the right selection and now with wider varieties to choose from, developing a habit would be way easier than it was before. Items like gluten-free all-purpose flour make a great ingredient for baking recipes. Rice and corn pasta are also there as alternatives. 

So, bread and pasta for lunch that’s gluten-free? Yes, please!

Sources

  1. Lamacchia, Carmela, et al. “Cereal-Based Gluten-Free Food: How to Reconcile Nutritional and Technological Properties of Wheat Proteins with Safety for Celiac Disease Patients.” 6.2 (2014): n.pag. Web. 14 Oct. 2016.
  2. 4310830, 95 -. Sources of gluten – celiac disease foundation. Celiac Disease Foundation, 1998. Web. 14 Oct. 2016.
  3. Awika, Joseph M. “Major Cereal Grains Production and Use Around the World.” Advances in Cereal Science: Implications to Food Processing and Health Promotion. N.p.: American Chemical Society (ACS), Jan. 2011. 1–13. Web. http://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/whats-whole-grain-refined-grain/gluten-free-whole-grains
  4. “INFOGRAPHIC: How much rice do Filipinos consume?” Rappler, 7 Oct. 2012. Web. 14 Oct. 2016.
  5. Ashtari S;Pourhoseingholi MA;Rostami K;Aghdaei HA;Rostami-Nejad M;Busani L;Tavirani MR;Zali MR; (n.d.). Prevalence of gluten-related disorders in Asia-Pacific Region: A systematic review. Journal of gastrointestinal and liver diseases : JGLD. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30851178/.