What Is Gluten? - Wesley Chapel chiropractorGluten is a kind of protein that is found in wheat and other grains such as rye and barley. Gluten is the compound found in foods containing wheat, rye and barley that is responsible for making the dough elastic and makes wheat rise and maintain a shape.

Gluten is composed of two proteins, which include giladin and glutenin. These two components are conjoined by a starch in the endosperm of grains. Giladin and glutenin are water insoluble, which can only be purified by washing the starch. All foods that contain wheat, rye or barley also contain gluten in them.

Uses of Gluten

Gluten plays an important role in the baking of breads. Gluten is responsible for making the dough rise and stabilizes the shape of baked products. Gluten also affects the texture of the baked goods. When gluten is more refined, the baked product becomes chewier. An example of which are bagels and pizza dough. Lesser refining of the dough may lead to tender baked goods such as pastry goods. Bread flours have a high gluten content, whereas pastry flours have a low gluten content.

Gluten is also separated from wheat and used as an added ingredient. When gluten is dried and milled into powder, it can be added to ordinary dough for a more chewy and formed baked product.

Gluten is also used to make imitation meats resembling duck, chicken, fish, beef and pork. Gluten is cooked in broth to absorb the natural taste of meats.

Gluten is also added unexpectedly in ketchup and ice cream. Some goods that normally do not contain gluten may unexpectedly contain it so it becomes detrimental for people with celiac disease to ingest these foods. The Codex Alimentarius international standards for food labeling include standards for indicating that a food is gluten free.

Other uses of gluten include being an additive in pet foods to increase their protein content. Aside from dietary value of gluten, it is also used in envelops to seal them because of being a stabilizer.

Foods containing Gluten

Major food groups that contain gluten are foods made from wheat, barley and rye. Other grass-like grains may also contain gluten such as kamut, graham, faro, einkorn, spelt, durum, and semolina. These grains are usually found in breakfast cereals and baked goods. Other foods that may contain gluten in traced amounts include broths, soups, salad, marinades, dressings, spice blends, bouillon, coffee, vinegar, dairy products as well as liquors.

Gluten Supplements

Gluten is also manufactured in the form of supplements to provide protein to those who lack dietary potein sources.

Effects of Gluten

People who have no digestive problems related to gluten may take the substance safely. However, up to 1% of people all over the world may be sensitive to gluten as a result of gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. Some people may also be allergic to gluten resulting in hypersensitivity reactions when gluten is accidentally ingested.

Celiac disease is a condition involving the absence of ability to digest gluten, specifically the giladin component. Patients suffering from celiac disease also produce an immune reaction to gluten leading to inflammation of the small intestines. Gluten may be present in wheat, but wheat allergy and celiac disease are two distinct disorders.

In order to prevent negative effects of gluten to those sensitive to it, it is essential to check food labels regarding the presence of gluten.

Dr. Mohr, your local Wesley Chapel chiropractor, believes in an overall healthy lifestyle, starting with your diet and nutrition.