Don’t miss out. Stay Informed. Get EcoWatch’s Top News of the Day.
Gluten is very controversial these days.
Most sources claim that it is safe for everyone except those who have celiac disease.
On the other hand, some health experts believe that gluten is harmful for most people.
According to a recent survey, more than 30 percent of Americans actively try to avoid eating gluten.
This article explains what gluten is and how it can affect your health.
What is Gluten?
Of the gluten-containing grains, wheat is by far the most commonly consumed.
When flour is mixed with water, the gluten proteins form a sticky network that has a glue-like consistency.
Interestingly, the name glu-ten is derived from this glue-like property of wet dough.
Bottom Line: Gluten is a family of proteins found in grains like wheat, spelt, rye and barley. Gliadin and glutenin are the two main gluten proteins.
Why is Gluten Bad For Some People?
Most people tolerate gluten just fine.
However, it can cause problems for people with certain health conditions.
It is an autoimmune disorder and involves the body treating gluten as a foreign invader. The immune system attacks the gluten, as well as the lining of the gut (8).
The most common symptoms of celiac disease are digestive discomfort, tissue damage in the small intestines, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, headache, tiredness, skin rashes, depression, weight loss and foul-smelling feces (10, 11).
Bottom Line: Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that makes the body attack gluten in the digestive system. This can cause severe digestive disorders and other health problems.
Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity
There are many people who do not test positive for celiac disease, but still react negatively to gluten.
This condition is called non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
It is currently not known how many people have this condition, but it has been estimated to be in the range of 0.5–13 percent (15).
Symptoms of gluten sensitivity include diarrhea, stomach pain, tiredness, bloating and depression.
There is no clear definition of non-celiac gluten sensitivity, but the diagnosis is made when a patient reacts negatively to gluten, but celiac disease and allergies have been ruled out (16, 17, 18, 19).
However, some experts believe this isn’t a real condition. They think the adverse effects are imaginary or caused by substances other than gluten.