Gluten free diets are becoming increasingly common. Although a lot of people are following the trend, many others choose to eat non-gluten to alleviate food intolerance symptoms. Whatever your reasons, it is not always easy to follow a gluten free diet. Read on to find out how it can be a simple daily routine.
Gluten free diets, who does it affect?
Some people are intolerant or allergic to gluten. Those affected by this intolerance, which include suffers of coeliac disease, find that their intestine has difficulty digesting foods containing gluten. As a result they can suffer from uncomfortable side effects like diarrhea, bloating or abdominal pain even after eating a small piece of bread. These people can eat gluten in very small doses of only 50 mg per day compared to the average person who can eat on average 10 g per day. Some people don’t eat gluten as they are allergic however this only affects between 0.1 and 1 % of the population.
Others can be sensitive to gluten meaning they can suffer similar symptoms to those who are intolerant. In this situation, it is best to stop eating gluten for several weeks, before gradually reintroducing it into your diet.
Lastly there are people who choose not to eat gluten without any health reason. This new fashion of cutting gluten out of your diet has been on the go for several years. Many choose a gluten free diet because there are many health benefits such as a better digestion, having more energy and losing weight. However no studies have been carried out to prove the real benefits of a gluten free diet.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in many cereals like wheat, barley and even rye. It can therefore be found in flour, pasta but also many other products we buy everyday. A gluten-free diet can be restrictive and you need to pay attention to the list of ingredients on food packaging.
How do you find gluten-free food?
Following the rise in gluten-free consumers, big companies are starting to propose more gluten-free products. What’s more, thanks to an INCO regulation introduced in 2014, allergens found in each product must be clearly shown on the packaging in bold or italics. Now it is becoming much simpler to spot ingredients not allowed for a gluten-free diet.
However it is not necessary to check all food packaging labels as fresh produce like meat, fish, cheese, fruit, vegetable, milk and natural yoghurt don’t contain gluten.
However if you are on a gluten-free diet you can eat certain cereals without any issue such as cornmeal, quinoa, manioc, buckwheat, amaranth, arrow-root, sorghum, millet or teff. In terms of carbohydrates, you can also eat potatoes, chestnuts, lentils, chickpeas, beans, peas and broad beans.
However you should take a few precautions so that you don’t accidentally eat gluten, especially for those who suffer from coeliac disease:
- Separate the cooking utensils that are used for preparing gluten-free dishes to avoid contamination.
- Make sure you check your spices as they can often contain flour to prevent the spices from sticking together.
- Don’t use the same cooking oil for food that contains gluten and food that does not
When you dine out, it is possible to find some restaurants which offer meals that are 100% gluten free. If in doubt, it is always advised to bring your own bread with you as it is often the most difficult food product to find a substitute. Likewise when you are invited over to a friends house for dinner. It is always best to give your host advanced notice beforehand so that they have time to think about a meal.