There’s been quite a bit of conversation at the dinner table regarding gluten. But, what exactly is gluten and how does it affect our lives?
If you’ve ever eaten some dry cereal then you’ve most likely consumed some gluten.
Let’s define gluten!
It’s a byproduct of a variety of proteins and is usually found in wheat, barley, rye and other grains. Gluten is used to add substance chewiness to baked goods. If you’ve had problems with runny foods, you’ve most likely used gluten as a binder. But gluten has other uses such as adding additional flavor as well as providing additional protein.
So what’s the fuss about gluten?
It is possible for an individual to develop an allergic reaction to products containing gluten. Much the
same as peanut allergies and other food allergies, steps have been taken to alleviate these gluten symptoms by developing gluten free diets to prevent catastrophic problems to the human body.
What Foods Have Gluten?
Are you a person that likes a bowl of soup in the cold of winter?
If so, you only need to check the label to find out if your soup contains gluten. How about that Thanksgiving or Christmas Day turkey gravy, they too contain gluten. French fries go hand-in-hand with ketchup but so does gluten.
I guess you’re getting the picture about what types of food gluten plays a role in. But, here are more common examples: vinegar, salad dressings, marinades, bouillon, spices, coffees, dairy products, and liquors.
So what has gluten in it from the cereal family, look at these grains which contain gluten: durum, spelt gluten, einkorn, farro, graham, kamut, and semolina.
What’s interesting about gluten in foods is that it’s included in some of the many popular and well publicized food varieties. However, because of its ability to enhance foods in a variety of ways, gluten can also be included in a variety of other foods that are not as obvious.
Did you know that gluten is a protein supplement?
Vegan and vegetarian diets employ gluten supplements to maintain the necessary amount of protein the human body needs. Additionally, imitation meats or wheat meats, such as seitan, many times are manufactures with concentrated gluten.
What are the four Gluten Proteins?
There are four major proteins associated with gluten, two are found in wheat and two are found in corn and rice. Glutelins and prolamins are found in wheat and albumins and globulins are found in corn and rice.
While gluten and wheat seem to be linked together, those proteins are more prevalent with regard to health related problems such as celiac disease. Glutelins are the proteins which cause the most problems. These are dangerous because of the manner in which the human body acids break them down. They’re primarily responsible for gluten intolerance.
Approximately 80% of the protein in wheat is comprised of prolamin called gliadin and the glutelin called glutenin. As these molecules are bound by chemical reaction, they begin to stretch and harden. Once this process begins, the dough develops a light, airy loaf which can be described as chewy. The end result is many of these proteins are commonly found in flour and other baking products.