UGirl's Guide to Gluten
Do you really even know what you’re avoiding?
by TAYLOR STEINER ★ JAN. 5, 2018
Gluten is a lot like the Kardashians; you're not really sure how it got famous or why everybody keeps talking about it. Let’s be honest, most people don't even know what it is, but they have decided to go gluten-free anyway. It makes complete sense to eliminate gluten from your diet if you have Celiac disease or gluten intolerances, but guess what? Going gluten-free does not actually promote a healthier lifestyle—just like drinking diet coke is not actually considered dieting.
So what really is it?
“Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat (wheatberries, durum, emmer, semolina, spelt, farina, farro, graham, KAMUT® khorasan wheat and einkorn), rye, barley and triticale – a cross between wheat and rye. Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together,” according to The Celiac Disease Foundation.
Generally speaking, gluten is in almost everything. In fact, it is “one of the most heavily consumed proteins on earth,” according to a report published in the New Yorker. From the soy sauce at your favorite sushi place to the truffle gnocchi you got on your study abroad trip in Florence, gluten hides in a variety of foods.
This information shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Any basic history lesson about the creation of civilization starts with the cultivation of grain. It began with wheat in Mesopotamia, then barley in Eastern Asia, and has now invaded your staple caramel macchiato at Starbucks.
So while saying you are on a ‘gluten-free diet’ gives you a good excuse not to drink beer at the next frat party, do not fool yourself into thinking you are on a new health kick.
While it is totally understandable that the gluten-free pretzels are a million times better tasting than regular pretzels, it does not necessarily mean they are better for you. Everything is good in moderation. So next time you are craving a bagel with cream cheese, eat it! Don’t victimize the innocent gluten that is quite literally the glue that holds all of our favorite foods together.