Gluten is an elastic protein found especially in wheat flour. Gluten gives that satisfying and recognizable springy quality to dough and also helps it rise. Gluten is also found in Cereal grains, Wheat, wheat berries, durum, emmer, semolina, spelt, farina, graham, rye, barley and tricale.
Besides the more obvious foods such as bread, crackers, pasta, cereals and cookies, Gluten can be found in a lot of our commonly consumed foods. Sauces, gravies, salad dressings, malt (extract, syrup, flavoring), seitan, seasoning mixes, soy sauce, beer, lager, ale, stout, broth, soups, licorice, chocolate, flavored coffees and teas, imitation bacon bits, imitation seafood and meat products, processed meats like hot dogs, sausages, deli meats, anything with wheat in the name, and even some dairy products like sour cream, yogurt, cottage cheese.
Although you may not have an allergy, too much Gluten can still cause problems when consumed in excess. As you can see it is in a lot of our foods and that just means were getting too much of it in our diets.
Today’s wheat is said to differ greatly from what our ancestors consumed. This has given rise to the term ‘Frankenwheat’. The practice of continuous hybridization in order to yield larger crops has led to wheat that is completely different from its original form. This wheat can cause digestive irritation, inflammation, weight gain (dreaded belly fat) and is high on the glycemic scale (2 slices of bread = 6 tsps. of sugar, Yikes!), and it can trigger an opiate response causing an addictive craving for more.
The good news is you can make small changes that can reduce the amount of wheat you consume without making you feel deprived, in fact you might just feel better and lose a few pounds in the process.
Beware of Gluten Free Products out there. If you don’t have a known allergy to Gluten you may want to limit GF products that use Tapioca Starch, Cornstarch, Rice Flour, Potato Flour…as substitutes. These items are low in fiber and are known to raise blood sugar levels faster than items with Gluten. (Labeled junk carbs by Dr. Hyman)
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