A Gluten-Free Diet


The gluten-free diet has gained new popularity over the past few years, and is found to be good also for people who are not gluten-sensitive, yet wish to maintain a healthy diet long-term.
What are the diet's benefits, and how can one apply it?


It can be found in breads and baked goods, in pastas, cakes and cookies, and even in soy sauce, beer and hot dogs. In fact, gluten can be found in any food that may contain bread crumbs or flour, including soups and salad dressings. It has special qualities and a great impact on our digestives systems.

So what is gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in each of the five grains: barley, wheat, spelt, rye and oats. The gluten, as its name suggests ('glue'-ten), is 'sticky', is not soluble in water, and is comprised of four proteins. The main protein groups are the gliadins and glutenins, which connect together to form a long spiral chain. These chains create a network of thin, elastic fibers, which comprise the gluten network, and which have stretching and contracting properties.

Since gluten is not soluble in water, it allows for the "adhesion" of the flour components together, which turns them into dough. It also causes the dough to rise.

People who suffer from celiac are extremely sensitive to gluten's effects, and when they are exposed to it, even to a miniscule amount, they develop an inflammatory process which causes damage to the gut as well as a host of other symptoms – from stomach pains and problems to negative behavioral responses and difficulty with daily functioning.

A Deliciously Full Diet Nonetheless

Over the past few years, along with the newfound public awareness and the rise in the number of people diagnosed with celiac, a huge market has developed for gluten-free substitutes. Products include pastas and breads, cakes and cookies, snacks, cereals and more.

At the same time, much due to the wide variety available, the gluten-free diet has also gained popularity and joined the many other well-known diets which originally were geared for the treatment of medical issues, but were later embraced by the general community, such as the famous Atkin's diet.

A gluten-free diet includes meat, poultry, fish, milk products, fruits and vegetables. Bread is substituted with rice cakes, and pasta is substituted with rice, quinoa, potatoes and corn, or alternatively, with a large variety of gluten-free products. In other words, the diet is considered balanced, since it includes all food groups, and therefore does not cause great nutritional deficiencies in people who have chosen to give up gluten, or at least to minimize it in their diets. People who have done so report less bloating and the accompanying gas, weight loss, a significant decrease in fatigue and 'heaviness', greater levels of energy and generally feeling better all around.