#Healthy, Cooking

The Gluten Free Diet

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a family of proteins found in grains, including wheat, rye, spelt, and barley. Wheat is the most common form of gluten from the grains listed.

When flour mixes with water, the gluten proteins form a sticky network that has a glue-like consistency. This glue like property makes the dough elastic and gives bread the ability to rise during baking. It also provides a chewy, satisfying texture. Interestingly, the name “gluten” comes from this glue-like property of wet dough.

Gluten can be found in many types of foods, even ones that would not be expected. While wheat is the most common, there are three main gluten substances including: wheat, barley and rye.

Wheat

Wheat is a yellowish grain used to make flour.

Wheat is commonly found in:

  • breads
  • baked goods
  • soups
  • pasta
  • cereals
  • sauces
  • salad dressings

Barley

Barley, a member of the grass family, is a major cereal grain grown in temperate climates globally. It was one of the first cultivated grains, particularly in Eurasia as early as 10,000 years ago.

Barley is commonly found in:

  • malt (malted barley flour, malted milk and milkshakes, malt extract, malt syrup, malt flavoring, malt vinegar)
  • food coloring
  • soups
  • beer
  • Brewer’s Yeast

Rye

Rye is a cereal plant that tolerates poor soils and low temperatures.

Rye is commonly found in:

  • rye bread, such as pumpernickel
  • rye beer
  • cereals

Gluten Intolerance and/or Sensitivity

There has been research on gluten intolerance and/or sensitivity and Celiac Disease. Gluten sensitivity or gluten intolerance has been coined to describe those individuals who cannot tolerate gluten and experience symptoms similar to those with celiac disease yet lack the same antibodies and intestinal damage as seen in celiac disease. Celiac Disease is an immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.Over time, the immune reaction to eating gluten creates inflammation that damages the small intestine’s lining, leading to medical complications. It also prevents absorption of some nutrients

Photo provided by Baptist Health

Let’s consider a person without Celiac Disease but an intolerance or sensitivity to gluten. Research has categorized gluten intolerance and sensitivity to be less severe than Celiac disease. However, many of the symptoms are the same. People with non-celiac gluten sensitivity have a prevalence of extraintestinal or non-GI symptoms, such as headache, “foggy mind,” joint pain, and numbness in the legs, arms or fingers. Symptoms typically appear hours or days after gluten has been ingested, a response typical for innate immune conditions like non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

Photo provided by Very Well Health

Gluten intolerances and sensitivities are not the same as allergies. In fact, someone can experience an intolerance or sensitivity and test negative to having a gluten allergy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s