It’s everywhere. If you scan supermarket shelves, no matter where you look you’ll find the forbidden G word.
Usually in the form of something being “Gluten-free.” It’s even on mustard! MUSTARD! Right now, being gluten-free is the hip thing and the latest “diet” trend, but here is the funny thing about Gluten:
See here’s the thing. There are thousands of people for whom gluten is no bueno. But the vast majority of people have made this connection:
eating gluten makes you fat.
What perpetrates this myth is that when you cut gluten products out of your diet, one tends to lose weight, but it’s not because of the gluten. It’s because you are cutting out foods that tend to have lower caloric densities. When you cut gluten, you cut out:
If it sounds like the same list of items you avoid when doing Atkins or a Paleo style diet, you are on the money! These simple carbohydrates tend to have more calories to them. Once you eliminate those extra calories, your body begins to burn stored calories rather than the readily accessible ones from the carbs.
Put simply, gluten is a PROTEIN. It’s not some magical element that adds fat to your thighs. It’s a protein no different from casein or albumin. It is what allows bread products to puff up and not burst. When making bread, you knead the bread to develop the gluten before baking. For people with Celiac Disease or a gluten sensitivity, their bodies form antibodies to attack gluten, which then damages the villi in their small intestines causing pain and other discomforts. Long term damage to the villi will then affect nutrient absorption, adversely affecting their health and even leading to malnourishment, no matter how much they eat.
For individuals with Celiac or gluten-sensitivity, being gluten-free is not a fad or an awesome diet. It’s a way of life from which they can never deviate. If you choose to live a gluten-free life, educate yourself on what you are avoiding and why you are avoiding it. There is a benefit to passing on gluten products but it’s more about the sugars in the product (and what it does to your insulin and glycogen) more so than what the gluten is doing to your body.
Oh, and back to the sign at the distillery? Most proteins denature (come apart) at temperatures around 40 degrees C (105 degrees F.) This renders the protein inactive and is one of the reasons why having a high, sustained fever is bad. The boiling point of ethanol (drinking alcohol) is around 78 degrees C (178 degrees F.) This means you could make a mash for a distilled spirit with 100% wheat and the resulting grain alcohol would be gluten-free.
Do you keep a gluten-free diet? Why or why not? If you are gluten-free, are you glad for the increased awareness?
Until Next Time!