Is a gluten-free diet advisable in healthy people?
The daily walk through the supermarket quickly confirms the trend of gluten-free nutrition. The offer ranges from waffle ice cream to pizza, muesli, baked goods, baking mixes and breading to various types of pasta and flour. Gluten-free products give consumers the feeling that they are doing something good for their health. But what is really behind it?
The myths about gluten are numerous. Food manufacturers have long been seeing a flourishing market in gluten-free products, because many consumers choose to do so entirely voluntarily. There are many rumors about gluten, for example they would make you fat, cause tiredness, promote heart disease and lead to a generally worse general condition. So far, however, there is no sound scientific evidence for these statements.
For whom are gluten bad?
In fact, there are people who cannot tolerate gluten. These people suffer from celiac disease, a gluten intolerance. This can lead to many unpleasant side effects for those affected, including digestive problems, body aches, fatigue, headaches and depression. The AOK writes on its website: “Celiac disease, also known as indigenous sprue or gluten-sensitive enteropathy, affects only about 0.5 to 1 percent of the population. You must eat a strictly gluten-free diet. If you do not have celiac disease, you would limit yourself too much by leaving out local cereal products. ”Gluten should therefore not generally be labeled as harmful. Nutritionists and studies show that giving up gluten in healthy people may not be sensible, and in some cases it may even be harmful.
Gluten - what is it anyway?
Gluten, also known as glue protein, is a natural component of many types of cereals such as barley, wheat, spelled, oats and rye. It serves as the most important storage protein for many types of plants and cereals. In food production, gluten is suitable as a good emulsifier or as a carrier of flavorings and is therefore used, for example, in baking bread and in the production of ready meals and sauces.
Long-term study warns healthy people against giving up gluten
A few months ago, the specialist journal BMJ published a long-term study with over 100,000 participants who had been medically monitored for over 26 years. The scientists found no connection between gluten diet and increased risk of heart disease. However, in some subjects, the gluten-free diet led to cardiovascular diseases, such as coronary artery disease, due to malnutrition due to the lack of whole grains. The study concludes that a gluten-free diet is not beneficial to health in people without celiac disease.
What applies to wheat sensitive people?
According to the AOK, there are also people with “wheat sensitivity”. According to the latest research, however, this is not triggered by gluten. A little less pasta, white bread and pizza could help here. Basically, according to the AOK, the following applies: "Those who do not suffer from celiac disease should under no circumstances eat strictly gluten-free."