Gaining the Right Perspective on the Carbohydrate-Fat Content of Gluten-Free Products
While purchasing our food needs from the market, we all now check the label information of the products as more conscious consumers. At this point, we focus on the carbohydrate and fat content and content of the product, after considering only the ‘reliability’ side of the product, which is the most important criterion for us. In this article, we will tell you how the product should be evaluated correctly in terms of carbohydrate and fat content and content. At the same time, we will explain that the negative evaluation of some oil contents in terms of health is not correct, according to the results of scientific studies.
Palm oil is actually rich in alpha, beta, gamma, delta tocotrienols and tocopherols, carotenoids, sterols, phospholipids and coenzyme Q10. With this content, it is antioxidant and has a quality nutritional content. Carotenoids, which are rich in palm oil, protect our cells against damage by activating molecules called free radicals that will show harmful effects in our body less. In addition, the tocopherols in palm oil have a positive effect on our liver enzymes and have a cholesterol-lowering effect.
As a result, it has been proven in studies that the consumption of palm oil in a certain amount and frequency will not have a negative effect on health.
Starch Content of Products
Let’s make a brief assessment by looking at the researches on starch, the main ingredient of gluten-free products. Starch is an important source of energy in the diet for all individuals, especially for individuals with celiac disease. Starches are classified as fast and slow digestible among themselves. Starch is also referred to as dietary fiber.
Corn/rice starch, which is also used in gluten-free foods, is used to provide positive developments in food. Contrary to popular belief, the blood sugar-raising effect of starch did not show a significant increase compared to other products. It has been stated in the studies that resistant starch is used to increase the crispness of products and to provide fat replacement. Thanks to these functional properties, it has found use in products produced for individuals with celiac disease, fermented foods, pasta products and diets of diabetics. When evaluated from these aspects, it has been stated that starch in packaged foods will not trigger diseases such as obesity and diabetes when consumed in a certain amount and frequency.
Although the use of starch in gluten-free bakery products such as bread reduces the fiber content, at this point, individuals who follow a gluten-free diet should use the bread they include every day in their diet to prefer the breads of brands rich in fiber content. Preferring gluten-free breads enriched with flaxseed, vegetable fiber and buckwheat flour will help you meet your daily fiber needs.
Evaluation of Sugar Content of Products
The World Health Organization recommends that daily sugar consumption should not exceed 10% of the total energy intake. If we take this situation as an example, it can be said that an individual with a daily calorie requirement of 2000 calories can provide 200 calories a day from sugar and this energy will be met with 50 g of sugar. At this point, it is recommended that we learn to make conscious choices instead of prejudiced against sugar-containing products.
As we should know that simple sugars such as honey and jam will be included in this amount, it is recommended that we distribute sugar-containing products in a balanced way in our diet. At this point, when purchasing a sweet snack group product, it is recommended to check the sugar content per serving of the product. Thus, instead of honey or jam that you prefer for your breakfast, you can easily accompany your coffee with chocolate or 1-2 biscuits at certain intervals and in appropriate portions in your snack.
When purchasing a product containing sugar, your most important criterion should be that it does not contain industrial sweeteners such as glucose/fructose syrup. High fructose corn syrup contains more sucrose and fructose than natural sources, and being a modified sugar has more negative effects on health. Therefore, when purchasing a product with sugar content, it is recommended that the consumer inquire from which source the sugar content is met.
Especially, with the great development of the food industry in recent years, various preservatives are added to foods in order to preserve the qualities of the products such as taste, appearance and structure and to increase the durability period. Studies have shown that some of the preservatives used may have adverse effects on the skin, gastrointestinal tract and respiration. It has also been stated that it can trigger conditions such as obesity and intestinal diseases by negatively affecting the intestinal flora. At this point, when choosing products, consumers should determine that the product does not contain preservatives as a criterion for purchasing the product.
Finally, as in individuals with celiac, balance is the most important issue in the nutrition of all individuals. Emphasizing healthy and naturally gluten-free products in your diet and including these products in our diet at regular intervals and in quantities to meet our social and individual needs will not have a negative impact on health.
Dietitian İrem Erdem
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Alas, Celiac! What will happen now?
The only cure for celiac disease is a gluten-free diet. Patients need to maintain strict gluten-free meals for life. People diagnosed with celiac disease as a result of clinical symptoms, serological tests, and small bowel histology should immediately start a gluten-free diet. He should stay away from the consumption of wheat, barley, rye and oat foods and beverages that should eliminate gluten from his life. Gluten-containing and iced tea such as white bread, whole wheat bread, bran bread and pasta, bulgur are not consumed in the gluten-free diet. It should be used with gluten-containing foods, which we call cross contamination, which do not contain gluten, but in this utility, attention should be paid to gluten contaminated contents.
Serological, hematological and biochemical tests (complete blood count, iron profiles, thyroid tests, calcium, magnesium, zinc, B12, folic acid and vitamin D) density and dietary compliance should be monitored. It is also important in follow-up in children.
Transglutaminase needs to be measured in a certain way to observe the effect of gluten-free treatment. If there are serological findings that do not improve at the end of a year, it should be considered that there is contamination in the diet. Serological tests are considered as a symptom of reaching normal levels, and it is known that the fastest serological tests in celiac disease reach their normal values in the 6th month and the slowest at the end of the 1st year.
A gluten-free diet should be followed very strictly. Very low amounts of gluten can cause clinical symptoms to persist. Celiac patients and their relatives should be well aware of the free, unfavorable foods that are included in the gluten-free diet and which should be controlled.
Dietician Armoni Yılmaz
Guide to Diagnosis, Treatment and Follow-up for Family Physicians in Celiac Disease, 2019
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Öztürk, Y. E., Uyar, G. Ö., Serin, Y., & Gürkan, Ö. E. (2018). Gluten-Free Diet Treatment in Celiac Disease: A Case Report. Journal of Nutrition and Diet, 46 (3), 320-324