• Nitika Mehra

What is Gluten ?

Updated: Dec 21, 2019


Gluten is a mixture of two proteins present in cereal grains, especially wheat, which is responsible for the elastic texture of dough. A group of proteins, called prolamins and glutelins, which occur with starch in the endosperm of various cereal grains.


This protein complex comprises 75–85% of the total protein in bread wheat. It is found in related wheat species and hybrids, such as spelt, khorasan, emmer, einkorn, and triticale; barley, rye, and oats as well as products derived from these grains such as breads and malts. 


Glutens, especially Triticeae glutens, have unique viscoelastic and adhesive properties, which give dough its elasticity, helping it rise and keep its shape and often leaving the final product with a chewy texture. These properties and its relative low cost are the reasons why gluten is so widely demanded by the food industry and for non-food uses.

Benefits

  • Reduced risk of exposure to toxic heavy metals.

  • Lowered risk of type 2 diabetes.

  • Decreased likelihood of heart disease.

  • Reduced risk of colorectal cancer.

Gluten Free Diet

Gluten can trigger adverse inflammatory, immunological and autoimmune reactions in some people. Gluten can produce a broad spectrum of gluten-related disorders, including coeliac disease in 1–2% of the general population, non-coeliac gluten sensitivity in 6–10% of the general population, dermatitis herpetiformis, gluten ataxia and other neurological disorders. These disorders are treated by a gluten-free diet.


This is essentially a diet that removes all foods containing or contaminated with gluten. However, since gluten-containing whole grains contain fiber and nutrients including B vitamins, magnesium, and iron, it’s important to make up for these missing nutrients. Along with consuming naturally gluten-free foods in their whole form like fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, fish, eggs, and poultry, and the some whole grains are also inherently gluten-free.

It is important to note that gluten is a problem only for those who react negatively to it. Most people can and have eaten gluten most of their lives, without any adverse side effects.