Removing Bread from Diet Might Not Be the Answer

By Rocío Río de la Loza, Health Coach

Did you know that by eliminating bread you are not necessarily eliminating gluten from your diet? Gluten is a naturally occurring protein present in wheat, rye, and barley and their derived products. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, gluten may be found in[1]:

  • Whole grain kernels
  • Flour
  • Cookie dough ice cream
  • Breads, cookies, pastries, and other baked goods
  • Whiskey, ale, lager, and other type of beers
  • Malt extract and malt vinegar
  • Brewer´s yeast
  • Pasta and noodles
  • Dressings, sauces, and gravies
  • Snack foods
  • Breaded meat, fish or chicken
  • Canned soups
  • Cold meats and meat substitutes
  • Marinades and condiments
  • Breakfast cereals, granolas, and energy bars

In addition, there are non-food items that might contain gluten:

  • Cosmetics like lipstick
  • Medicines
  • Vitamins and supplements
  • Play-dough
  • Communion wafers

 The role of gluten in celiac disease:

When a person with celiac disease comes into contact with gluten the immune system responds attacking the small intestine and destroying the villi, little “hairs” responsible for absorbing the nutrients.[2]

Celiac disease cannot be considered simply a food allergy or food intolerance, it is a serious autoimmune disorder that increases the risk of skin conditions, malnutrition, anemia, osteoporosis, chronic fatigue, lactose intolerance, thyroid disease, liver disease, type 1 diabetes, and cancer.[3]

Do you really need to give up bread?

The Celiac Disease Centerfrom the University of Chicago Medicineestimates that celiac disease affects 1% of Americans, which accounts for around 3 million people from the United States.[4]

To control the symptoms people who have been diagnosed with celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and wheat allergy require removing gluten from their diet, but that doesn´t necessarily mean a grain-free diet. There are plenty of gluten-free grains such as quinoa, rice, and corn, and abundant gluten-free processed foods, including gluten-free bread, that are safe for those who suffer from these health conditions.[5]

Beware of falling into the gluten-free trend! If you haven´t been diagnosed with celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity or wheat allergy you may continue to consume bread and foods containing gluten.

Bread is good for you:

Bread is a source of complex carbohydrates, providing energy for longer, and dietary fiber, which promotes regular bowel function and feeds beneficial gut microflora.[6]Bread may supply minerals and B-complex vitamins such as folic acid, which prevents neural tube birth-defects.[7]Many kinds of bread made from refined wheat flour, white bread included, have been fortified with iron, calcium, and some vitamins B.[8]

Finally, the American Institute for Cancer Research[9]includes whole wheat bread and whole grains within the AICR´s Foods that Fight Cancer[10]list because according to their findings dietary fiber and phytochemicals in whole grains convey anti-cancer properties.