Gluten is a combination of a variety of proteins that is found most often in wheat and other grains like rye and barley. In baked goods it adds the chewiness and texture to the products. It is also used in other foods as a thickener for broths and soups, protein supplement, and flavor enhancer. Some develop an intolerance or allergy to gluten and have to go on a gluten free diet. This happens because your body is unable to break down or digest the gluten protein. If you are new to this type of diet here are some things that you should know.
Gluten free is not more nutritious
Many people have the misconception that foods that are gluten free have more minerals and vitamins but this is not true. You can develop mineral and vitamin deficiencies quickly if you do not have the guidance of a nutritionist. Most of the foods that are not fortified or enriched with nutrients like iron and folic acid that wheat flours are. When you get rid of gluten, it will often mean adding more fat and sugar to your diet. When you take out the gluten the food will probably not taste as good so they add extra sodium, fat, and sugar to make up for the lack of taste. For example, a regular blueberry muffin has 340 calories with 24 grams of sugar and 17 grams of fat. Gluten free blueberry muffins have 370 calories and 31 grams of sugar and 13 grams of fat.
You could gain weight
Some think that when they go on gluten free diets that they will start to lose weight but there is no evidence that going gluten free is a good strategy to lose the extra weight. The reason that this diet could lead to obesity or being overweight is the extra calories, fat, and sugar. Those that have celiac disease, which is caused by gluten, will often gain weight when they first go free of gluten. This is because of the damage that gluten had caused to their small intestine prevents their body from digesting food the right way. Once gluten has been given up their digestive system will heal so they can absorb key nutrients and vitamins from the foods they are eating.
Your grocery bill may increase
Food that is free of this substance is more expensive that food that is not. It can be double the price or more. For example, a serving of regular brownies costs approximately 8 cents but for a serving of gluten free brownie is approximately 28 cents. One reason that they are more expensive is the added costs that the manufacturer incurs in order to meet labeling and certification regulations.