Gluten and Cereals

Certainly not famous for weight loss, are instead responsible for the increase of liquids retention and also for the raising up of cholesterol and blood sugar levels, some cereals are made even more palatable by the food industry, adding sugars and other “natural” aromas of dubious origin. Cereals are listed below, sorted by their gluten content. Rye and oats are more likely to be well tolerated by the body. However, it is better to subject these foods to careful verification by the consumer, starting with the preference for cereals of organic origin.

Wheat, Spelled, Kamut, Barley, Rye, Oats.

Some of these cereals, specifically Spelled, Kamut, and Oats, have been rediscovered in recent years and put on the market by organic farms.

Spelled is divided into three qualities:

  • einkorn or Triticum monococcum (the ears have only one seed) is considered the first cereal cultivated by man, it has a low gluten content (about 7%). It is poorly cultivated because of the low yield and is rare to find on the market.
  • emmer or Triticum dicoccum (the ears have two seeds) is the one most used for preparing the pasta is on the market and contains more gluten than the previous one.
  • spelt or Triticum spelta (the ears have two or more seeds) is the species closest to soft wheat, of which it is said to be the ancestor; it contains a high amount of fiber and a higher percentage of gluten than the first two qualities.

Kamut is a grain of the subspecies Triticum turgidum, also known as wheat Khorasan, named after the region of Iran where it is still grown today, and has qualities and properties very similar to common wheat, compared to which it has a higher content of mineral salts, vitamins, and proteins.
The gluten content is similar to the common wheat in structure, composition, and quality. Unlike the most common wheat, it has never been subjected to selections or crosses of varieties.

Oats contain a low percentage of gluten and its proteins are less harmful to the digestive system than those of barley and rye.
The issue was studied to understand the possibility of the consumption of oats by celiac subjects. Some research has concluded that if introduced pure, i.e. not contaminated with gluten during processing, oats would not be harmful to most celiacs.

In general, national celiac disease associations, while maintaining a prudent attitude, have repeatedly stated that there are serious doubts about the toxicity of oats to celiacs. It seems that the oat proteins (avenins), although containing a low percentage of gluten, do not stimulate an immune response in celiac subjects and do not produce alterations in the intestinal mucosa. Some studies rehabilitate oats as a non-toxic cereal, others question its safety and include it on the list of cereals to avoid.

We can say that, if celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or other particular pathologies are present, oats should be avoided, as well as other cereals containing gluten. If the problems mentioned do not exist, oats can be consumed by people of blood type A, B, and AB by observing their effects.

Many nutritionists, the most scrupulous, strongly advise against the use of cereals that contain gluten. More and more scientific research and observations on the front line show that especially with advancing age, there is a resistance by the body in tolerating gluten, whose percentage inside cereals, due to genetic manipulation, is has been increasing over the past decades; we went from 7% to around 22%. It is evident that this high percentage of gluten, combined with a greater amount of carbohydrate consumption that contains it, inevitably cause immune system responses. Besides, the living conditions of 50-60 years ago included great physical activity, which helped to eliminate toxins and was more compatible with the consumption of gluten.

Since the Second World War onwards, the consumption of gluten and dairy products has increased significantly throughout the western world. Before then there were no intensive animal farms, yogurt was not widespread and the consumption of foods containing gluten was less. In the past gluten was present only in bread, pasta, pizza, and desserts. Today, with the widespread use of pre-processed foods, supplied by the food industry to restaurants and delicatessens, we often consume gluten without knowing it. In stores, we can consult the labels of nutritional values, ​​but in other situations such as pizzerias and restaurants, it becomes more difficult.

In the last 3-4 generations, human DNA has manifested with greater frequency all the negative aspects of gluten intolerance, the forms of which, over time, become increasingly serious. Many people with gluten intolerance have parents who weren’t. If we consider the history of humanity, the time of adaptation to certain foods by world populations has been relatively short.

In general, cereals, with or without gluten, must always be used with great caution. To be assimilated they need prolonged cooking and, containing many starches, that increase the retention of liquids and consequently the weight. They are also primarily responsible for raising cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Many people, despite following an apparently correct diet, have high cholesterol and blood sugar levels, because they avoid the consumption of meats, cheeses, sugars, and sweets, but do not eliminate the major culprits of these problems: cereals.

In recent decades, the idea that meat could be a dangerous food for human health has become established and food theories have spread that seek protein sources in the plant kingdom. Seitan is one of the high protein products of vegetable origin that vegan and vegetarian diets show as a valid alternative to the consumption of animal proteins, especially meat. Seitan is a gluten concentrate, which is obtained from wheat, spelled, or Kamut flours by separating the starch from the gluten which is cooked by adding some flavors. Using this product is not recommended as it is concentrated in gluten and can lead to serious health problems, especially if consumed frequently.