Gluten: find out if the protein is fattening or bad

Anyone who is familiar with diets (whether to lose weight or improve health) has heard about gluten. This protein is part of the diet of most people, even if for some it is still unknown.

There are those who choose to eliminate the protein willingly, but there are those who need to stop consuming it for health reasons, as is the case of people with celiac disease or gluten allergy .

Learn more about this nutrient and what are its free foods:

What is gluten?

Gluten is a complex protein, found in some cereals, which are barley, rye and wheat. It gives elasticity and resistance to the masses and preparations. That is why it is simpler to work in the kitchen with pasta with wheat flour, for example.

Many people know this nutrient from a recent rise in diets that restrict it, with the main goal of reducing weight. But in addition, there are those who really need to stay away from gluten, who are allergic or celiac.

In addition to being a nutrient present in various foods (breads, cookies, cakes, snacks), anyone who has some sensitivity to ingestion encounters another difficulty: cross-contamination.

This means that even if a chocolate does not take any flour or gluten-free ingredients, if there was manipulation (oven, molds, cutlery) with gluten-free ingredients, all the chocolate will contain particles of the protein. That is, causing discomfort to sensitive people.

Is gluten bad?

It depends. For patients with intolerance or allergy, yes! But for those who have no dietary restrictions, there is no evidence that the nutrient is harmful. In fact, it is part of the diet of many people through whole grain flour and oats, which are rich sources of various nutrients.

According to the Brazilian Nutrition Society, some aspects can make even those who are not diagnosed with celiac disease or allergy feel better when they stop consuming the protein: overexposure to some component, in this case gluten.

That is, as modern life causes food to be ultra-processed and many people end up having an unbalanced diet (overeating components such as sugar or gluten), this can lead the body to develop sensitivity.

However, with a balanced diet and healthy habits, gluten is not bad for those who do not have any pathology related to nutrition.

Read more: Dermatitis: what it is and treatment

Gluten is fattening?

There is a confusion or false relationship between gluten-free foods and less caloric foods – this may be because many diets for weight loss end up indicating the exchange or replacement of foods with gluten for the exempt ones. A good example is to opt for tapioca instead of French bread.

In fact, it is not necessarily true that gluten is fattening, as it will also depend on the caloric value and other nutrients present in the meal.

It is worth remembering that many products have less fiber than traditional ones with wheat, as is the case with tapioca, which has approximately the calories of a whole grain bread, but few fibers and other nutrients.

Therefore, it is necessary to understand that gaining weight and losing weight is a complex process and related to several factors, such as the rest of nutrition, physical activities, metabolism and others.

It is also important to always reinforce the notion that any diet or dietary change needs to be accompanied by professionals in nutrology or nutrition, taking into account the medical and personal histories of each patient.

Do you lose gluten from your diet?

Not necessarily. Considering people without any allergies or problems with digestion of gluten, protein can be part of the diet even of those who want to lose weight. A good example of this is the use of oats, rich in nutrients and present in many diet plans due to the high fiber rate.

What can happen is that, many times, when starting a diet that suggests removing gluten, there is a whole change in the amount of calories ingested – that is, it is not exactly because of the gluten exemption, but because of the low calorie provided by the diet.

Who needs to cut gluten from food?

There are some people who need to cut gluten out of the diet entirely for health reasons, than people with celiac disease or gluten allergy. In these cases, a decrease in protein intake is not enough, as it is necessary to take care of all the food so that symptoms do not arise.

Thus, it is necessary that even those foods processed in machines or with utensils that had contact with gluten should not be eaten.

In addition to these cases, there are people who, even without a closed diagnosis, feel better without consuming the protein. In such cases, it is necessary to investigate the possibility of asymptomatic celiac disease, for example.

Or, still, it is possible that the malaise is triggered by an excessively rich diet of gluten, leading to sensitivity and difficulty in digestion. In such cases, in general, it may be that just reducing consumption is effective for improvement.

Allergy, celiac disease or gluten intolerance?

Allergy, CD and gluten intolerance are different conditions, but in general they have similar treatments: the elimination of gluten from the diet.

Celiac disease and allergy involve mechanisms mediated by the immune system. However, CD is not considered an allergy and does not trigger reactions with the antibody Immunoglobulin E (Ig-E). In such cases, patients are unable to metabolize gluten, causing chronic inflammation of the intestinal mucosa.

Allergy, then, is an immune disorder, in which the body overreacts to certain food components and generates allergic reactions. Therefore, the mechanism is mediated by Ig-E.

Gluten intolerance or sensitivity does not involve the same mechanisms as allergy, but it is also not the same as celiac disease. In general, it can manifest both intestinal and allergy-like symptoms.

For this reason, when noticing malaise after eating gluten, it is always important to seek medical advice before removing it from the diet, as before it is necessary to close the diagnosis correctly. Only on the basis of exams and clinical history is it possible to determine which condition.

What foods do not contain gluten?

In theory, foods that contain gluten are those made with some cereals, such as wheat, rye and barley. That is, cakes, breads, sweets or anything that has any of these ingredients contain gluten.

However, even those products that do not seem to contain, such as chewing gum, gelatin or chocolates, may contain. Sometimes they are given flours to help with consistency, but sometimes they are only processed in equipment or stored in places that mix products with gluten. The result is cross-contamination.

A good example of this is oats. It naturally does not contain gluten , but as it is usually planted next to wheat, or transported and stored in contaminated places, it ends up containing gluten.

So, some ways to keep an eye on the composition is to know the labels and classes:

Naturally exempt

In general, they are fruits, vegetables, vegetables, in addition to milk (animal and vegetable), unprocessed meats and homemade cheeses.

Processed products

Those that do not contain ingredients with gluten in the composition and have the warning “does not contain gluten”.

Specific Food Products Gluten Free

Breads, biscuits, cakes and pastas made especially for people with allergies, sensitivity or CD are gluten free.

What foods contain gluten?

To find out if the food is really gluten free, you have to look at the label. But to make the process easier, there are some groups that are usually on the list of prohibited products or foods:

  • Grains and flours: wheat, rye, barley, oats and malt, flour, bran and wheat germ, oat bran, breadcrumbs, kibe wheat, industrialized flour;
  • Breads, biscuits and pasta: French bread, brown bread, loaf of bread, sweet bread, pies, pie, snacks, croissant, pizza, pasta and pasta based on wheat, semolina or semolina, kibe;
  • Drinks: beer, chocolate, oat drinks;
  • Condiments: soy sauce, vegetable broth, ready seasoning.

In addition, attention must be paid to hamburgers, salami, kani, frozen and breaded foods.

Read more: Fattening beer: myth or truth?


When talking about diet, gluten often appears. Some people need to eat a gluten-free diet for health, but others choose to feel better or even to lose weight.

In any case, nutritional and medical monitoring is indispensable so that there is always balanced nutrition! Follow more food tips in the Healthy Minute!

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