Gluten-free noodles, lactose-free milk – the "no-food" business is flourishing. "Such supplements are a blessing for celiac disease, wheat allergy sufferers and lactose intolerant people.
They help those affected in their daily lives, "says ecotrophologist Sonja Lämmel of the German Association for Allergy and Asthma (DAAB)." But you should choose them wisely. "
Never diagnose food intolerance yourself
If there is food intolerance, you should never diagnose yourself, but always a doctor. However, such intolerance cannot be medically treated. Instead, a nutritionist with a nutrition history log checks what the patient is not tolerating.
"Often, omitting food with disease-causing ingredients is the only reasonable therapy," says ecotrophologist Silke Restemeyer of the German Diet Society (DGE).
It is often not completely refraining from needed lactose
"For example, with lactose intolerance, the body cannot divide natural milk sugar into food," says Lämmel. It is one of the most common intolerances and causes intestinal problems such as bloating and diarrhea.
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The store has special products labeled "lactose free" and an asterisk, because it always has lactose content. This intolerance depends on quantity and "very few people with seafood intolerance are completely lactose free," Restemeyer says.
Thus, new products are only useful if the original contains a lot of lactose like milk and fraiche cream. "In these 'no' products, lactose is separated in advance by the addition of the lactase enzyme. It produces two simple sugars, glucose and galactose, and the milk is slightly sweeter," explains Angela Clausen of the North Rhine-Westphalia Consumer Center.
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What to look for in gluten free products
Celiac disease, on the other hand, is a serious bowel disease in which patients have to feed strictly gluten-free, i.e., gluten protein. For example, with gluten-free bread, "common cereals such as wheat or wheat are harvested because they contain gluten and are replaced by pseudo-cereals such as milling or quinoa," says Lämmel. "But it no longer works with dough, so manufacturers use propellants or thickeners."
In addition, some gluten-free foods have a relatively higher fat content, while fiber, vitamins and minerals are lower, says Restemeyer. "I always tell my patients that they should not switch to one-on-one replacement products but should consume less carbohydrates," says Lämmel.
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Incompatibility can be cultivated
For this reason, voluntary abstinence from gluten-containing foods is not recommended, as is often stated in magazines or reviews on the Internet. "People are convinced that they are doing something right by buying a replacement product and that normal grain makes them fat or sick. We criticize that," Clausen says.
This can also lead to direct problems: "I can breed incompatibilities," says Lämmel. "If I don't give milk sugar to my body for a long time, they will forget to divide it."
Marking "no" as an advertising strategy
Nonetheless, this trail is not removed – and the industry benefits. 15 years ago, there were almost no "no" products, even products that were naturally lactose free or gluten free. "We already found gluten-free mineral water," says Clausen. "Of course it's called material. You play with the ignorance of the customer. So you can sell the product better – and more expensive."
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Nutritionist Prof. Hans Hauner of the Technical University of Munich agrees: "The manufacturing process involves minimal additional costs. In the end, however, profit margins are higher because the products are advertised as particularly attractive. And because there is a target group that believes and is willing to put more money on the table. ”Moreover, the competition is not as brutal as conventional food.