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For anyone who is gluten intolerant it might seem impossible to eat at places like IHOP. This is because of their wide variety of breakfast-focused foods, often which contain gluten as they have a variety of sandwiches, pancakes, and waffles. With more recent developments, however, IHOP has created an IHOP gluten free menu. There is of course the question that why should I eat off the IHOP gluten free menu compared to the normal one? Does gluten affect me or others enough that there is an IHOP gluten free menu? And is the IHOP gluten free menu still as good as their normal menu?
What Exactly is Gluten?
Gluten is a type of protein pretty much only found in a variety of grains. This includes grains like wheat, barley, and rye. Gluten is what makes these grains have that stretchy property to them. You can easily see when a person tosses and spins a pizza dough, as without the gluten the dough would more easily break under pressure.
Aside from the more common grains, others also contain them. These include durum, emmer, semolina, and more. There are a lot of grains that don’t contain gluten, but if processed or grown near gluten producing grains, they can get gluten. Some other products also typically have gluten in them such as soy sauce and modified food starch.
Fortunately, in most places in the world, it is possible to get gluten-free versions of all of these. But of course, the question remains as to what gluten does, is it any good for consumers or simply a bad alternative to normal foods? And should you be concerned enough to be troubled by the new IHOP gluten free menu?
Is Gluten any Good?
When one sees things concerning gluten or more gluten heavy products, they subconsciously understand that it is bad for you because of the recent media fad and health trends. However, there is in fact evidence that a lack of gluten in the diet of a person without celiac disease can make you deficient in nutrition. Now of course there are reasons as to why gluten should be avoided by people with celiac disease, also a handful of other conditions. For the majority however gluten can help provide nutritional values in your diet such as Vitamin B.
Many studies link the consumption of whole-grain foods to positive health benefits suggesting that those who eat 2-3 daily servings of whole grains are less likely to contract heart diseases, stroke, or type 2 diabetes. This as well as being less likely to die if they were to get it.
Gluten also acts like a prebiotic by working with what we see as good bacteria in our bodies by feeding them. One of the reasons this can help is that bifidobacteria eat these prebiotic carbohydrates. These bifidobacteria are important in the average amounts as it helps in the prevention of gastrointestinal diseases. These can be from irritable bowel syndrome to colorectal cancer. So what is the point of the IHOP gluten free menu if gluten is pretty important? Well, several complications can arise if you have certain conditions and this is the reason a gluten free diet has been recommended to people with health conditions.
Downsides of Gluten
The downsides of gluten only really affect people with certain conditions. However, the way they affect these types of people can create cause for concern as it becomes dangerous. Some people’s bodies see gluten as a toxin making their immune system attack gluten which can lead to inflammation. Depending on the person’s immune system response the side effects can be mild like diarrhea or constipation. But in more serious cases the person can suffer malnutrition, weight loss, and intestinal damage.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder and people with this disease are recommended to stay away from gluten as the damage is considerably more. The disease is a problem with the body’s immune system causing the person to fight harmless things like gluten or refuse essential nutrients like calcium or iron. This makes it so that these people if undiagnosed can have a higher risk of osteoporosis and anemia. In more extreme cases it can also lead to infertility, nerve disorders, and even cancer. Only about 1% suffer from celiac disease so it’s a good thing though that as long as you know you have celiac disease and therefore carefully watch your diet, you can avoid all this.
There are some cases where an individual cannot consume gluten or at least should reduce the intake. These can be non-celiac gluten sensitivity, this case has similar symptoms with celiac disease but with less of the more extreme damages that come with celiac disease. This doesn’t mean you can eat gluten however as the side effects of such can still get worse.
There is also just having a wheat allergy which among gluten could also mean you’re allergic to albumin, gliadin, globulin, all of which are found in wheat. The symptoms of this are nausea, hives, shortness of breath, swelling, diarrhea cramps, and a few more. Fortunately, this is only present in children who in many cases outgrow this as they enter their adulthood.
And finally, there is also dermatitis herpetiformis. This is a rash that happens after consuming gluten. Very much like celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that shows itself as a rash on the skin that can break out into blisters and bumps. People with celiac disease can have dermatitis herpetiformis, but the reverse is less likely.
To determine any of these conditions, which for now will be called gluten intolerance to generalize it, there are several ways to do it. The most obvious of course being digestive discomfort after the consumption of gluten.
For celiac disease, there are many ways. One of them is a blood test with which the doctors will check for the antibodies in your system. This can then lead to a biopsy in which they will take a tissue sample from the small intestine to check for damage. If you don’t wish to immediately consult a doctor for this then maybe trying a strict gluten free diet to see if your condition will improve or not is the best way. After maybe about 3-4 weeks of this, you can go back to normal consuming gluten to see if there is any reaction.
If at this test nothing changed with the gluten free diet or things didn’t get worse after introducing gluten again then consult a doctor for further testing. This is because it is possible that you aren’t gluten intolerant and there is another culprit to your symptoms. Of course, this should not be done on your own if possible as having a proper test done by medical professionals puts you at less of a risk and guarantees the right answer.
These negative effects are typically only for those who have such conditions. Most people without celiac disease or any of the others can freely eat gluten without experiencing any problems or side effects. This of course is always true with most things as long as you choose to consume them in moderation. For people with celiac disease or any of the other problems then the IHOP gluten free menu may be of interest.
Alternatives to Gluten
If you do find yourself gluten intolerant, you would want to remove any food containing gluten or that has been contaminated by gluten. But with many whole grains having gluten this can seem like an impossible task as these whole grains also contain B vitamins, magnesium, and iron suggesting that cutting gluten would negatively impact your nutrition.
Nutritionists suggest that you either look for possible replacements for these while consuming gluten free food like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, fish, poultry, and eggs. Several whole grains are gluten free. These are buckwheat, quinoa, any variation of rice, oats, amaranth, corn, millet, sorghum, and teff.
Preferably, l you should keep away from overly processed gluten free foods which are high in calories, sugar, saturated fat, and sodium. These are not the nutrients you are seeking out as a replacement for other whole grains. Examples of these foods are gluten free cookies, chips, and many other snack foods.
Interestingly, the gluten free food industry has made a 136 % increase in their growth from 2013 to 2015. Currently, the market stands at $4.7 billion and is expected to rise by more than 7% each year to reach $7.5 billion by 2027. This is largely due to the people who don’t have celiac disease or any other gluten intolerance.
With many consumer surveys done it was shown that most people just didn’t know why, while others perceived it as a healthier option or for their digestive health. This is despite studies showing no relation between better health and a gluten free diet for people without gluten intolerance. And more recent studies have shown that gluten free diets can hurt people who don’t have gluten intolerance.
IHOP Gluten Free Menu: What Does it Contain?
As the name IHOP or International house of pancakes implies, this is the last place you would look for gluten free options. However, as of September 2019, there has been the addition of the IHOP gluten free menu which included some variations of their typically gluten filled foods with gluten free options as well as containing all of their foods that never had any gluten to begin with.
Is Anything at IHOP Gluten Free?
They have a wide variety of options to serve folks who want a gluten free option. This of course being on the IHOP gluten free menu that was added in 2019. These include natural gluten free options like salads, soups, and a number of their sides. These items on the IHOP gluten free menu plus their gluten free bread options are guaranteed to be gluten free by their suppliers. The specifics however do highlight that the use of shared cooking areas may lead to some problems, which is why they label their products as gluten friendly. As the gluten content if any in the IHOP gluten free menu is very minimal at most.
Does IHOP Have Gluten Free Bread?
Part of their gluten free menu is, of course, the classic menu item but this time it’s gluten free. The IHOP gluten free menu includes gluten free pancakes to go along with their usual sides of eggs, bacon, sausages, or hash browns. Doing more than just what their name suggests, the IHOP gluten free menu also has gluten free options for both their famous waffles and burgers. The waffles come with the same sides as the pancakes. And six of the regular burgers are available as gluten free options. These include the mega-monster, Cali garlic butter, and much more. All of these gluten free burgers come with sides like fries, fresh fruit, hash browns, or a two-stack of their gluten free pancakes.
Are the Omelets at IHOP Gluten Free?
Fortunately, there is the option for omelets as a part of the IHOP gluten free menu. This alongside everything else should satisfy most people’s cravings if they do have a gluten intolerance.
What Restaurant has the Best Gluten Free Menu?
Well in the end if you are really concerned about gluten free foods, either as dictated by your doctor or just as a personal choice then sticking with purely gluten free foods is the best. There are a variety of restaurants that do serve foods that inherently don’t have gluten in them. With the addition of the IHOP gluten free menu, however, IHOP can be on your radar especially as they have many branches and serve several foods like their pancakes and waffles that would usually scare off any gluten intolerants. This makes them a great option if you still want to have pancake stacks or just enjoy all-day breakfast style restaurants. And at IHOP you won’t have to worry about your gluten intolerance.