Indians have been eating gluten for ages, and had quite a resilient system to this protein. Our whole wheat chapattis are a staple and mainstream in Indian diets. Yet the world cautions against gluten, should we as Indians just get our facts straight?
Gluten is a protein made up of gliadin and glutenin found in many grains like maida, semolina (rava), barley (jov). The word itself is a Latin word meaning “glue” that which binds. It is used as a binding agent in many products not jut patisserie. If you suffer from a gluten intolerance, it does means you may have celiac disease (an autoimmune disorder, where people are predisposed to not digesting gluten). However, Indians have been eating it for eons, then why are all Indians going wheat free? Primarily it’s the weight loss industry that has pushed us over the edge, first with its influx of the foreign grain quinoa (now we Indians are making it, but it sells at the same price as the foreign grain) and second, with making a big deal about how gluten leads to weight gain. Please remember nothing adds to fat in the human body, if you are assimilating it well.
According to me, celiac disease is more a white man’s disease, as the consumption of white refined flour is higher in the West than in India. Therefore most studies (for lack of anything better to pin it on) put it down to hereditary factors. The hybridization of the whole wheat grain has produced issues with its digestion in the West. It is estimated that 5% of the proteins found in a hybridized grain are new, and difficult to digest. In India, we tend to keep our whole wheat close to our hearts, and try to retain it in its 100% form.
The best way to find out if you are gluten intolerant is to take it out of your diet for 30 days; then re-introduce it and look for significant changes in the in-between phase. Signs would include: bloated-ness, acid reflux, feeling full, a wheat belly, too much lethargy, mental fogginess. Take it out of your diet only if this happens. You are okay to eat it, if you digest it well, an NO it will not make you fat.