Published On: Tue, Nov 12th, 2019

Why gluten may not be the ‘bad guy in our diets’

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By Mail On Sunday Reporter

Going gluten-free is unlikely to be good for your gut, new research suggests. Fad diets that cut out gluten – a protein found in foods such as bread, pasta and cereal – have soared in popularity over recent years.
But now researchers from Sheffield and Reading universities say avoiding these products may be pointless.
They gave healthy volunteers, who had not been diagnosed with coeliac disease or gluten sensitivity, either organic gluten or a gluten-free blend to add to their food twice a day for two weeks.
The study, published in the journal Gastroenterology, found that the group who ate gluten had no more stomach complaints than those in the gluten-free group.
Dr Paola Tosi, from Reading University, said: ‘It appears that gluten is often unjustifiably given the role of the bad guy in our diet.’
Asthma patients who can’t use an inhaler properly
Almost two-thirds of asthma patients are suffering needlessly because they aren’t using their medication properly.
Astonishingly, one in 20 don’t know how to use their inhaler at all, according to a new report.
The news is worrying, as deaths from asthma in Britain are at their highest level for a decade.
Data from the Office for National Statistics in August revealed that fatalities from the common lung condition have risen by more than a third over the past ten years.
Last year alone, the condition killed more than 1,400 people.
At least five million adults and children in the UK are being treated for asthma.
LloydsPharmacy, which carried out the survey, can show asthmatics how to their inhaler properly. Pharmacist Anshu Kaura said: ‘It’s potentially lifesaving for many people.’
People arriving at A&E could soon face a swab test as they walk through the door to see if they are infected with flu. Researchers claim doing so would halt the rapid spread of infections in hospital.
Patients with flu-like symptoms are already routinely tested for the virus once they are admitted, but results can take up to 48 hours to come back.
A newer test can be carried out in the waiting room and gives a diagnosis in less than an hour. A pilot study at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham between December 2016 and March 2017 found that screening people with possible symptoms, such as a high temperature, meant patients were quarantined within hours and treated more quickly. The average length of stay for those diagnosed with flu dropped from almost eight days to about two-and-a-half.
Coffee boost for cyclists
Lycra-clad cyclists take note: drinking coffee before heading out on your bike could make you go faster.
Researchers at Coventry University gave 19 men and 19 women either a cup of coffee, a placebo in water or nothing. They then took part in a three-mile cycling time trial.
The performance of men who had coffee improved by about nine seconds and women by around six seconds, compared to the other groups.
The findings, published in the journal Nutrients, suggest drinking coffee made from as little as a dessertspoon of instant powder could give your legs a boost.
The British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (BAPEN) says this guidance neglects the most important factor when it comes to healthy eating – our age.
Earlier this month, a Mail on Sunday investigation revealed the shocking scale of malnutrition in the UK, with over-65s at risk of starving to death. Dieticians warned that the Government’s focus on eating less could be partly to blame.
‘The advice fails to recognise that the nutritional requirements of a frail 80-year-old is very different to a 30-year-old,’ says Dr Trevor Smith, of BAPEN.
‘What constitutes a healthy diet varies depending on the stage of life you are at. The advice around nutrition should vary for different age groups.’
Teenagers, menopausal women, and thirtysomethings trying to conceive also have specific dietary requirements. It is vital information that could even help you live longer. So how do you know what to eat, when? Here, dieticians and health experts provide the answers.
Teenagers, menopausal women, and thirtysomethings trying to conceive also have specific dietary requirements. It is vital information that could even help you live longer. So how do you know what to eat, when? Here, dieticians and health experts provide the answers +10
Teenagers, menopausal women, and thirtysomethings trying to conceive also have specific dietary requirements. It is vital information that could even help you live longer. So how do you know what to eat, when? Here, dieticians and health experts provide the answers
Despite the trend, cutting carbs is not always a healthy choice. In late adolescence and during university, carbohydrates – made up of sugars, starches and fibres – are a vital source of energy.
‘Your brain needs about 120g of carbohydrates daily to work properly,’ says dietician Catherine Collins. ‘This is easily met with a bowl of porridge and two slices of bread at lunch. Carbs like oats, wholemeal bread and sweet potatoes sustain energy for longer.’
Studies show those with diets high in slow-releasing carbohydrates have a reduced risk of obesity and heart conditions in later life.
TRY THIS: Add a handful of noodles to a chicken and vegetable stir fry.
Studies show those with diets high in slow-releasing carbohydrates have a reduced risk of obesity and heart conditions in later life +10
Studies show those with diets high in slow-releasing carbohydrates have a reduced risk of obesity and heart conditions in later life
There are almost 250,000 vegan teenagers in the UK who avoid all animal products for the sake of the environment. But dodging dairy raises the risk of bone-wasting condition osteoporosis in later life.
Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt are vital sources of calcium, which protect bones from damage. As adolescence is the peak time for bone development, under-19s are advised to consume 100mg more calcium than the rest of us.
‘Bone density increases in adolescence and peaks in our late-20s,’ says Collins. ‘A lack of calcium during these years means bone strength may never reach its full potential, increasing the risk of early osteoporosis. You’ll get the recommended daily dose of 800mg in one small pot of yogurt, a glass of milk and a small piece of cheese.’
TRY THIS: Grate two teaspoons of parmesan cheese over meals for an extra calcium boost.
Despite the trend, cutting carbs is not always a healthy choice. In late adolescence and during university, carbohydrates – made up of sugars, starches and fibres – are a vital source of energy +10
Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt are vital sources of calcium, which protect bones from damage +10
Despite the trend, cutting carbs is not always a healthy choice. In late adolescence and during university, carbohydrates – made up of sugars, starches and fibres – are a vital source of energy. Add noodles to a stir-fry (left) for brain fuel. Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt are vital sources of calcium, which protect bones from damage
Teens should eat steak
Red meat has been vilified in recent years, with reports linking meat-heavy diets to some cancers.
But for youngsters – especially young women – the odd steak is important for brain, blood, lung and muscle health. Red meat is the richest source of the mineral iron, essential for transporting oxygen around the body. With the start of girls’ menstrual cycles, and a sudden loss of iron in blood, teenage girls become at risk of deficiency. In late teens, the amount of iron the body needs dramatically increases – almost doubling to 14.8mg daily in girls.
TRY THIS: Steak, or beef, minced or stewed for dinner a couple of nights weekly.
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Most British women have their first child at 29 years old. And would-be mums ought to be aware of a B-vitamin called folate, found in leaf-green vegetables, and essential for the formation of DNA. Deficiency in pregnancy can increase the risk of health problems in the growing baby.
While those actively trying for a baby are encouraged to take a precautionary supplement, experts say a folate-heavy diet is a good idea – in case you’re caught by surprise. ‘The damage is often done by the time they find out they’re pregnant,’ says registered nutritionist Angela Dowden. ‘A folate-rich diet, is a good insurance policy.’
TRY THIS: Stock up on folate-rich broccoli and asparagus. Opt for folate-fortified sliced bread and breakfast cereals.
For youngsters – especially young women – the odd steak is important for brain, blood, lung and muscle health +10
Those actively trying for a baby are encouraged to take a precautionary supplement, experts say a folate-heavy diet is a good idea. Stock up on folate-rich broccoli and asparagus +10
For youngsters – especially young women – the odd steak is important for brain, blood, lung and muscle health. Those actively trying for a baby are encouraged to take a precautionary supplement, experts say a folate-heavy diet is a good idea. Stock up on folate-rich broccoli and asparagus
Slowing metabolism and depleting hormones mean, in midlife, the health odds become stacked against us. Testosterone and oestrogen dip, hindering fat-burning. Weight gain between 45 and 60 years is specifically linked to higher mortality, according to a recent analysis. But this doesn’t mean a low-fat diet. ‘Many high-fat foods are high in calories, but all fatty foods should not be eliminated,’ says dietician Cherry Hagger.
In fact, some types of fat have even been shown in studies to protect against heart disease, cognitive decline and keep us fuller for longer. ‘Salmon or other fatty fish a few times a week, a handful of nuts and olive oil with meals are good choices,’ says Hagger. It’s the calorific fatty foods – pies, and pastries – that should be limited. ‘Rather than banning foods, just cut down on portions a bit,’ Hagger says.
TRY THIS: Dip bread in olive oil instead of slathering with butter.
Eat plenty of potatoes
Bowel cancer is on the rise with 42,000 people newly diagnosed every year. Eating more of one nutrient could dramatically decrease your risk.
Fibre – found mainly in starchy carbohydrates such as wholemeal bread and pasta, oats and potatoes – could reduce the risk of the disease by up to a fifth. The nutrient is essential for digestion. High fibre intake is also associated with healthy blood sugar levels, decreasing the risk of obesity-related illness and type 2 diabetes, according to studies. ‘A baked sweet or white potato including the skin contains almost a fifth of your daily fibre intake,’ advises Collins.

TRY THIS: Two spoons of porridge oats in your morning cereal.

‘A baked sweet or white potato including the skin contains almost a fifth of your daily fibre intake,’ advises Catherine Collins +10
‘A baked sweet or white potato including the skin contains almost a fifth of your daily fibre intake,’ advises Catherine Collins

An omelette boosts mood

Selenium, found in eggs, nuts and shop-bought bread, boasts surprising health benefits for the middle-aged.

‘It’s essential for hormonal functions,’ says Hagger. ‘Some studies have found it is also linked to mood.’ Other studies show that high intake may even be protective against the most common form of male cancer.

In a 2012 analysis of 13,000 men by the World Cancer Research Fund, those with high bodily concentrations of selenium were less likely to develop prostate cancer. Selenium is said to protect against cell and tissue damage, which may halt the development of tumours. Recommended daily intake is 75 micrograms for men, and 60 for women.

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