Showing posts with label Allergy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Allergy. Show all posts

May 16, 2014

Gluten Fad and Facts

As with most fads, gluten has way too many headlines and gluten free diets are popular, without much knowledge of what it is or why we should or should not eat gluten. In fact, the majority of Americans do not know which foods contain gluten.

Gluten is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye. Gluten gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape and often gives the final product a chewy texture. Worldwide, gluten is a source of protein, both in foods prepared directly from sources containing it, and as an additive to foods otherwise low in protein.

Gluten, especially wheat gluten, is often the basis for imitation meats resembling beef, chicken, duck, fish, and pork. When cooked in broth, gluten absorbs some of the surrounding liquid and becomes firm to the bite. Gluten is often present in beer, soy sauce, some chocolates, and deli meats. It can be used as a stabilizing agent in more unexpected food products, such as ice cream and ketchup.

Experts estimate that about .75% to 1% of Americans have celiac disease. The condition, caused by an abnormal immune response to gluten, can damage the lining of the small intestine. For people with celiac disease, a gluten-free diet is essential, but for others, "unless people are very careful, a gluten-free diet can lack vitamins, minerals, and fiber," according to the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University. Many whole grains that contain gluten are rich in an array of vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins and iron, as well as fiber. Studies show that whole grain foods, as part of a healthy diet, may help lower risk of heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that half of all carbohydrates in the diet come from whole grain products.

Gluten sensitivity is classified as intolerance, not an allergy.

Gluten does not make you fat and cutting gluten will not help you lose weight. Gluten-free does not mean fat-free or calorie-free. “Gluten does not make you fat,” according to the Cleveland Clinic. “Calories make you fat regardless of where those calories are coming from, whether they are coming from brown rice, which is gluten-free or a wheat bagel.” If you eat more calories in a day than you use, the extra calories will be stored as fat.

Some gluten-free foods contain extra sugar and/or calories to make them more palatable and make up for the loss of the gluten.

You can eat a clean diet that includes gluten or a clean diet that does not.

French fries are gluten-free and vegetarian.

There is nothing unhealthy about gluten. Gluten alone doesn't have many health benefits, but foods that contain gluten, like whole grains, tend to be higher in fiber and contain vitamin B, zinc, and iron. As a result, cutting gluten could actually result in nutritional deficiencies.

Gluten does not cause cancer. There is no connection between gluten and risk of most cancers. The exception is an increased risk of intestinal cancer for only those who have celiac disease, or true gluten intolerance. The Mayo Clinic lists cancer as a complication of celiac disease (not gluten). People with celiac disease who do not maintain a gluten-free diet have a greater risk of developing several forms of cancer, including intestinal lymphoma and small bowel cancer.

Numerous observational studies show that the more whole grains a person eats, including the gluten-containing grains (wheat, rye, barley), the lower risk of most cancers. This is true for some of the most common types of cancer, such as breast, prostate, and colon cancers, as well as for less common cancers, such as cancer of the pancreas. Whole grains contain fiber, which can stabilize blood sugar and hormone level.

Dec 5, 2012

Clean Houses Cause Allergies

Here is another one of those studies that makes me wonder. It contends that children who grow up in hygienic households develop more allergies, eczema, and other disorders that result from a depressed antibody response. Scientists have theorized that children from middle class and affluent families have weaker immune systems because they live in cleaner homes.

Besides increases in medicated and vaccinated children in the past 20 years, the number of children with allergies has also doubled, with the sharpest increase among the middle classes.

Their study examined 8,306 patients, 776 of which had some form of reaction to peanuts, and the findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.

Lead study author, allergist Dr Sandy Yip, said, ‘Overall household income is only associated with peanut sensitization in children aged one to nine years. This may indicate that development of peanut sensitization at a young age is related to affluence, but those developed later in life are not.’ Am not sure of the relationship between dust bunnies and peanuts, but why take chances. Was going to clean my house today, but think it might be healthier if I wait a few weeks.