Gluten is a natural protein found in wheat, rye, barley and some other cereal crops. Small numbers of people (possibly 6% [1]) need to avoid gluten or limit the amount they eat due to coeliac/celiac disease or gluten allergy frequently called wheat allergy. People who suspect they may have either condition should get proper diagnosis and medical advice. People without either condition sometimes assume there are health benefits from gluten free products or a gluten free lifestyle though there is no scientific evidence for any benefits to normal people from avoiding gluten. Indeed a gluten free diet can be unnecessarily restrictive and harmful for people without either of the above conditions. Remember people who have coeliac/celiac disease or gluten allergy get dietry advice from their medical helpers. People without those conditions will find it hard to get themselves a healthy diet without advice. [2] Buying some gluten free products as part of as normal diet including foods like ordinary bread is at best a harmless but expensive placebo.

For the vast majority of people gluten can contribute to a healthy diet as the wheat, barley, rye other cereals that contain it it provides protein without the saturated fat common in meat. Cereals containing gluten have been a staple in many parts of the world since the start of agriculture and the effects of these foods are well known. Wheat protein complements the protein in pulses, therefore dishes that combine wheat and pulses are beneficial. Try adding peas, beans, lentils to pasta dishes or eating beans on toast for example.

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