For many years, the fitness community already has a very split relationship to the topic gluten, While a gluten-free lifestyle is considered by many to be the key to a healthier life and is almost religiously smoked, another part sees this diet quite critically. Other people, on the other hand, have a good reason to abstain from gluten, which is not limited to following a fitness fashion. The absence of the substance also helps to reduce the symptoms of a disease called celiac disease, which can damage, among other things, the small intestine. One last group, on the other hand, goes so far as to say that all the hysteria around gluten is simply to bring new food and nutritional supplements to the man and woman. But what's wrong? We trace the myths and facts.
What is gluten about?
Gluten, unlike what many people suspect, is not an artificially produced poison that is added to foods for the sake of pure malice. In fact, it is a special protein that is completely natural and can be found in wheat, barley and rye. Finally, in the food industry, this protein is used to give food such as bread, pasta or crackers flexibility, shape and texture. In addition, the protein structure gliadin, which is contained in gluten, plays a decisive role in the production of bakery products, since these are thus absorbed particularly well during baking. In addition, the sticky protein may also be present in various other foods at least in traces. The range of foods that may contain gluten ranges from chicken broth to beer to sweets. Many people are deliberately turning to gluten-free foods because they believe that these foods make them healthier and protect against digestive problems, whether or not they are directly caused by gluten. However, this diet also has a downside, because who completely eliminates the gluten from his diet, can get problems with the intake of iron, fiber and B vitamins. Studies also show that consuming whole grains containing natural gluten can lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. So it is quite possible that a normal amount of the substance does not harm your body, but on the contrary it is even healthy.
Celiac disease vs. gluten sensitivity
If you read the words "gluten-free" on the label of a product or on the menu of your favorite restaurant, you can not help feeling that there are countless people who can not tolerate this protein. Hordes of people who suffer from celiac disease and who need to be warned about the unhealthy potential of gluten. It is, of course, true that people who suffer from celiac disease have to be very careful about how much gluten they consume. However, this disease affects only 0.3-1.2 percent of the total population. Also, celiac disease can not simply be diagnosed by itself, but must be diagnosed by a physician through test procedures such as biopsy and blood test. If you have received such a diagnosis, it makes sense to do without the sticky protein where you can. All others have, if at all, only a more or less pronounced sensitivity to the sticky protein. This sensitivity is also called gluten intolerance and is clearly differentiated from celiac disease. But even here, the number of people who actually suffer from such sensitivity is very low. If the gluten problem from a scientific point of view, but only so few people ever concerned, why is in the fitness world then such a hype organized? Does the wheat protein stand in the way of performance or physical development possibilities?
Construction site fat loss
The fitness community associates gluten-free foods with body fat loss. But why is questionable, because to date no scientific study has been able to confirm a direct relationship between the renunciation of protein and the breakdown of body fat. Any loss of fat in all studies was solely due to the reduction in the calorie intake. One possible reason for explaining the subjective perception of higher fat loss is the frequent shift from a diet based on processed foods to a much more natural diet that produces significantly less calories and consists of a lot of fruits and vegetables. The bottom line is that the mere renunciation of the sticky protein in itself does not lead to any loss of fat. This, like any other form of diet, also needs a calorie deficit.
Problem area efficiency
Many athletes believe that a gluten-free diet significantly improves exercise performance. This hypothesis is definitely true for people who suffer from celiac disease or a diagnosed gluten sensitivity. However, as we have already mentioned, these diagnoses only apply to a fraction of the population, so that a large proportion of athletes are subject to a purely subjective perception that can not be confirmed scientifically. Often gluten sensitivity of endurance athletes is also confused with normal digestive problems, which can cause endurance exercise itself or a wholegrain diet. A study published in 2012 in the scientific journal Clinical Reviews in Allergy & Immunoloy has confirmed that the complete omission of gluten-containing foods in healthy athletes without adequate sensitivity does not lead to any improvement in performance.
How can I recognize gluten sensitivity myself?
If you expect to have gluten sensitivity due to various symptoms, such as digestive problems, you should first check this thesis with an elimination diet. During this experimental process, you need to watch how your body reacts to it by gradually removing gluten-rich foods from your diet. If you notice a lasting improvement in your symptoms or an improvement in digestive activity, this is the first sign of sensitivity to gluten. If there is still uncertainty after this experiment, you can also have your doctor test for celiac disease. Remember, however, that the number of people who suffer from gluten sensitivity or even celiac disease is very low. It is therefore much more likely that your symptoms will be caused by other foods, such as milk products, ie lactose, various oils or spices. So if you can exclude the sticky protein as the culprit as part of your elimination diet, you'll join the next group of foods until you find the culprit.
The bottom line is of course your decision whether you want to banish the sticky protein from your diet or not. After all, we are not the nutrition police. From the point of view of a completely healthy person, however, it makes no sense to rely on a gluten-free diet, especially since there are no benefits in terms of fat loss, performance or digestive activity. However, if you have a diagnosed celiac disease or have gluten intolerance, it is important to minimize gluten intakes as much as possible.