What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in the composition of some cereals, namely rye, wheat, barley and oats (due to cross-contamination), and has a very complex structure and chemical composition.
It is a protein that takes a long time to digest, which can lead to its accumulation in the bowel. This accumulation can cause uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms, changes in the intestinal flora (which can compromise immunity and microbiota-dependent reactions), flatulence and even fluid retention.
Due to the complexity and structure of this protein, there are people (with a genetic predisposition to it) who develop an autoimmune disease that prevents them from consuming foods containing it, the so-called celiac disease.
In addition to celiac disease, there are two other conditions that seem to be associated with gluten consumption: non-celiac gluten sensitivity and irritable bowel syndrome, particularly when it comes from wheat.
For this reason, or simply due to better gastrointestinal comfort, in recent years we have seen a growing demand for gluten-free foods and the limitation/exclusion of this protein from everyday life.
Which foods contain gluten?
As mentioned, gluten is present in foods containing wheat, rye, barley and oats. However, the presence of this ingredient is not always so obvious and it is also present in other less predictable foods.
Therefore, gluten-containing foods are all those that contain the cereals mentioned above in their composition:
- Cakes and pastries;
- Breakfast cereals and cereal bars;
- Instant soups;
- Béchamel sauce;
- Yogurt with cereals;
- Processed foods such as sauces, purees and instant desserts, ice cream, pâtés, sausages, etc.
Image 1: Cookies and biscuits Oh!MySnacks.
Gluten and health
Although the gluten-free diet is the main treatment for celiac disease and can help relieve the symptoms of some conditions related to gluten sensitivity, including mild symptoms such as abdominal bloating, the truth is that there is currently no consistent evidence that the gluten-free diet brings general benefits to overall health.
In fact, for individuals who do not have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, there is no need to restrict gluten consumption. This is because a balanced diet includes the consumption of unprocessed whole grains, namely whole bread and oats, not only as a source of energy and carbohydrates, but also of fiber, vitamins and minerals, nutrients that have a significant impact on health.
It should also be noted that the traditional gluten-free alternatives of bread, cookies and cereals tend to be highly processed foods, in most cases with a high fat and/or sugar content, food additives and practically devoid of nutrients, which has a negative impact on the quality of the day's eating.
What gluten-free solutions can you find at Oh!My Snacks?
In case you suffer from gluten intolerance or some kind of adverse symptom that benefits from its exclusion, within our portfolio you can find naturally gluten-free options that don't involve added sugar, fat, large amounts of food additives or high food processing.
Moreover, they are options that maintain a focus on dietary balance, spread across several categories:
- Protein balls, with a date, almond and cinnamon base
- Raw and fruit bars, based on dates, fruit and nuts
- Cereal bars based on nuts and chocolate
- Dehydrated fruit and fruit balls, with a natural fruit base
- Mix Nuts
- Salty and spicy mixes with nuts and rice and corn tortillas
According to the evidence, excluding gluten from your diet really makes sense in terms of health if you suffer from some kind of intolerance to this protein or if it manifests itself in harmful symptoms in your dailylife.
In this sense, and as alternatives, opt for the inclusion of balanced and naturally gluten-free foods in your diet, without large amounts of sugar, fat, salt or additives added to compensate for the taste.
There are Oh!My Snacks to help you with this mission! Within our range, you have several options without the inclusion of gluten ingredients that you can include from breakfast to afternoon snack, combining food balance and taste with the convenience and personalization of our service.
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. (n.d.). Diet Review: Gluten-Free for Weight Loss. The Nutrition Source. Retrieved from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-weight/diet-reviews/gluten-free-diet-weight-loss/
Author:Rita Lima (CP.3003N)