Deakin Communicating Science 2016

EES 200/101

GLUTEN: WHATS THE BIG DEAL?

Simply walking down an isle of a supermarket you must have seen, “Gluten free” labels popping up from different food products. The gluten free labels in food  and the gluten free menus in restaurants are becoming more and more prevalent today. So let us take a look at what is this gluten and why do people suddenly care about it?

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What is Gluten?   

Gluten is an insoluble protein component made up of two proteins named gliadin and glutenin. Usually gluten is found in certain grains like wheat rye and barley. It helps to nourish the plant embryos during germination. Gluten is also responsible to the elasticity of dough and chewiness of baked products. Now that we have a basic idea of what gluten is let us take a look at what it does to the body and whether people should omit it from their meals.

Is gluten bad for you?

Gluten is only bad for certain people because they are gluten intolerant. These people produce an abnormal immune response to gluten. Some forms of gluten intolerance are celiac disease, and wheat allergy.

Celiac disease is an inherited disease in which food with gluten leads to inflammation and damage in the lining of the small intestine. This impairs intestinal function leading to problems like belly pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea.

Wheat allergy is an uncommon condition that occurs when a person’s immune system makes an allergic response to wheat proteins. This leads to symptoms like Nausea, stomach cramps, indigestion, vomiting or diarrhea.

There is no cure for these diseases and the only treatment is a gluten free diet. Therefore for this small amount of consumers which is 1-2% of the population the avoidance of gluten containing food is essential. Even though the percentage is very low the consumer foods labelled “gluten free” are rising in number. This suggests that a lot more people are making the choice to go gluten free over and above those with a diagnosed allergy. But why?1339036595159_2704537.png

To find the answer to this CSRIO  conducted a nationwide survey . They found out that those who decide to eliminate gluten tend to do so based on advice from sources such as family, friends, the media and to a lesser extent their GP or a medical specialist. They also found out that 84% of people choosing to go gluten free are the ones who haven’t been diagnosed with gluten intolerance.

The decision to go gluten free is mostly affected by media due to athletes and celebrities touching gluten free diets. According Penn State Hershey dietitian Liz Reiding, it has become almost a marketing tactic. She also stated “Now there are products labelled ‘gluten-free’ that never contained it in the first place — such as water, or bananas,”

The dilatation and author of “Diet Simple” (Life Line Press, 2011)  Tallmadge said that for most people a gluten free diet won’t provide a benefit because the whole grains which contain gluten are a good source of fiber vitamins and minerals and gluten free products are made from refined grains and are low in nutrients.

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In conclusion it is not essential for people with no gluten intolerance to go gluten free.So do not be fooled by marketing tactics like this the next time you go shopping and choose what you want wisely with a better understanding.

 

References

“Why Do People Decide To Go Gluten- Or Wheat-Free?”. The Conversation. N.p., 2015. Web. 7 May 2016.

“Celiac Disease Treatment”. WebMD. N.p., 2016. Web. 7 May 2016.

“Wheat Allergy”. ACAAI. N.p., 2015. Web. 7 May 2016.

Chey, W. (2015). What’s the big deal with gluten? – William D. Chey. [image] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEM2iDT-VAk [Accessed 3 May 2016].

“The Medical Minute: The Big Deal About Gluten | Penn State University”. News.psu.edu. N.p., 2016. Web. 7 May 2016.

Gluten-Free: Coeliacs! Should We Lighten Up?:. 2016. Web. 7 May 2016.

Celiac Awareness Group At Http://Www.Prweek.Com/Article/1307112/Celiac-Awareness-Group-Shows-Support-Fda-Gluten-Free-Label-Rule#Zma0eqwum48a8jhe.99. 2016. Web. 7 May 2016.

Gluten: Good Or Bad? The Hidden Facts About “Gluten-Free”. 2016. Web. 7 May 2016.

 

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3 comments on “GLUTEN: WHATS THE BIG DEAL?

  1. jesspeartree
    May 8, 2016

    Great post! My dad is celiac and I am a carrier of the celiac gene, but do not express any of the symptoms of celiac disease (thank god). I think it’s great that people are shedding light on this topic, I know that a lot of people who do suffer from wheat intolerance’s are not taken seriously because so many people eat gluten free as a ‘fad diet’. I see so many people who don’t have any type of intolerance to gluten eating a gluten free diet, a diet which has absolutely no benefits to those who don’t suffer, if anything as you stated it means a lack of fiber and protein in their diet. However with so many more people trying this diet it does mean that there is now a wider array of gluten free options for people who do suffer from this intolerance, which my dad is not complaining about. To be honest i don’t know why people want to try this diet anyway, my diet primarily consists of bread and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
    Refernces
    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/288406.php

    Like

  2. harrisonhooper
    May 8, 2016

    Hey Sandaliii, great post and a very nice read. Its a interesting topic to talk about because I think that it an important topic for some people and has a large impact on their life. The debate around gluten and wheat is a interesting topic as the food is common in the modern household and has been for many years, and is being challenged by this new movement of gluten free and grain free. Really nice flow and use of images, a good read I found for topic related to this http://paleoleap.com/what-is-wrong-with-grains/ talks about the ‘gluten free’ market and its quite interesting.

    Like

  3. pamudi
    May 8, 2016

    Great read! Honestly, I tend to pick items listed gluten free just because it’s so popular and often pop up in fitness and health related articles/ posts. I feel like people who aren’t that educated on the nutrition side of health are easily manipulated to buying products that contain the “gluten free” label as they probably assume that it is beneficial to health without actually knowing the meaning of it. I thought I was gluten intolerant until i actually had my self tested recently…. The article on https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/coeliac-disease-and-gluten-sensitivity has some good content and detail on Celiac disease.
    Pamudi.

    Like

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This entry was posted on May 7, 2016 by in Uncategorized.

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