Gluten-Free Diet, Substitutes and Myths
Gluten-free diet is one of the various diets followed by those aiming for weight loss. Is a gluten-free diet a good weight loss diet? What are the Indian substitutes in a gluten free diet? Can gluten free diet lead to long term problems? Let’s find out…
Gluten sensitivity in terms of Celiac Disease is the most common form of Gluten intolerance - a condition that damages the lining (villi) of the small intestine and prevents it from absorbing specific nutrients in food that are important for staying healthy. The damage is due to an inflammatory reaction to eating gluten. Gluten is a protein composite found in wheat, barley, rye, malts and oats. When people with gluten intolerance eat foods or use products that contain gluten, their immune system reacts by damaging these villi. Gluten free diet is used to treat those suffering from Celiac disease.
Dr Simran Saini, Weight Loss Consultant at Fortis Hospital, New Delhi suggests, “Basically a gluten free diet limits our choices to a great extent as per variety of food intake. If not careful, it leaves a person suffering from many nutritional deficiencies. Thus it is important to plan a gluten free diet in such a way that the maximum number of variety enters one's menu keeping in mind to stick to gluten free options only. One must make sure to have a lot of fruits and salads as these keep the intestines healthy and functioning.”
Priya Laxman, Owner and Pasticceria Connoisseur of Piccoli Tortini is known for her gluten free desserts and confections. She tells us some of the substitutes for gluten rich products, “Eliminating wheat and wheat based substances is the main thing. We also avoid oats completely, we use gluten-free flour as a substitute like amaranth flour and arrowroot flour, and alternately we make flourless products also.”
She adds, “Gluten free diets are prescribed for those suffering from gluten intolerance and gluten allergies. It is a very serious condition - some serious implications are celiac disease and in extreme cases if left undiagnosed can also cause colon and intestinal cancers.”
“However there is no need to deprive yourself as plenty of substitutes available now-a-days. Some people feel they can avoid wheat and whole wheat and have refined flour instead, which they think is ok. But that’s untrue! Refined flour is processed wheat flour,” which is a gluten free myth says Priya.
*Images courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images
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