Is gluten is harmful?

What is gluten?

Gluten is a substance that is part of the protein of wheat, barley, rye and most other cereal crops. The more gluten is contained in flour, the easier it is to make a dough that turns into airy pastries. The content of gluten in the wheat protein of higher grades is up to 30%.

Because gluten is essentially glue-based( which is why it is called "gluten"), it is widely used to impart a thick texture to sauces and other products. Gluten also glues together the contents of the stomach, provoking inflammation and the development of food allergies in some people. Is the gluten-free diet leading to rapid weight loss? What can you eat on this diet? What is harmful gluten?

It is important to separate the harm of products with gluten and the harm of gluten itself. Since gluten is the main component of wheat flour, it is found in large quantities in bread and in all baking. This kind of food causes a quick set of excess weight, whereas refusal of it is useful for losing weight.

On the other hand, the immunity of some people perceives gluten as an allergen, causing the body to "fight" with it. Since gluten comes with food, the stomach suffers first. Violated bowel function, lower levels of absorption of carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals.

Celiac disease - allergy to gluten

A disease called celiac disease, which is an allergy to gluten, occurs in 1% of the population - on average, in one person from 100-150( 2).In such people, the use of even minimal doses of gluten( 0.1 g) can cause a serious food allergy with unpleasant symptoms.

It is believed that gluten intolerance is a genetic disease similar to lactose intolerance. If your parents or relatives have celiac disease, you are probably also susceptible to it. In this case, you will have to adhere to a strict gluten-free diet all your life.

Symptoms of allergy to gluten

Most of the symptoms of gluten intolerance are disorders of the digestive system - chronic bloating, persistent diarrhea and other stomach disorders. In many cases, the stool becomes pale and frothy, while having a sharp unpleasant odor( 2).

Secondary symptoms of allergy to gluten are headaches, hair loss, decreased immunity, worsening metabolism. Given the mild severity of symptoms, diagnosis of celiac disease is most often difficult, and many patients do not even guess about their illness.

A way to detect gluten intolerance

A simple home-based method of detecting gluten intolerance is to exclude from the ration of bread and any other gluten-containing foods for several days, as well as a close assessment of your well-being. The subsequent return of these products to food will be indicative.

The intestinal microflora will take about 10-14 days to recover. If returning to a normal diet containing gluten will provoke any digestive problems, then you should consult a doctor to make a full medical test for celiac disease.

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Gluten content table for

All food products made from wheat, rye and other cereals contain gluten. It is believed that the average person consumes from 10 to 40 grams of gluten a day( 1) - most of this consumption falls precisely on bread, pastries, pasta and other bakery products.

Also in quantities sufficient for the occurrence of allergies, gluten as a thickener can be part of ketchup, sauces and other products( including ice cream).Separately, we note that gluten can also be part of the sports nutrition - especially, the protein.

Name of food product Protein content per 100 g( 4). Gluten content per 100 g( 4).
Wheat flour 10 - 14 g 3 - 5 g
Barley 11 - 12 g 2.2 - 2.8 g
Rye flour 9 - 10 g 2 - 2.5 g
Oats 10 - 11 g 2- 2.2 g
Millet 10 - 11 g 1.5 - 1.7 g
Spot 10-15 g 0.3 - 1 g

List of products without gluten

Products not containing gluten include all types of meat and fish, eggs, potatoes, rice, corn, peas and other legumes, nuts, fruits and vegetables. Buckwheat and other pseudo-cereal crops( kino, amaranth, sorghum) also do not have gluten( 3).

Note that in a number of groats, gluten gets in the process of processing and using the same equipment as for wheat. For example, corn flakes may contain gluten in an amount sufficient to cause allergies, while pure corn does not contain gluten at all.


Gluten is a sticky substance that forms part of wheat. In a small number of people, it is capable of causing food allergies and impaired immunity. However, for everyone else, the main harm from consuming gluten-containing products can only become a set of excess weight.

Scientific sources:

  1. How much gluten is in a normal diet, source
  2. Symptoms of Coeliac Disease, source
  3. Mayo Clinic: Gluten-free diet, source
  4. Celiac disease: source