What is gluten?


Gluten is an insoluble group of proteins formed mainly from gliadin and glutenin, and is found only in certain grains such as barley, rye and wheat. Its main action is to hold the shape and elasticity of grain- based processed foods. 

Gluten is developed when flour is kneaded with water. It gives the dough its chewiness, bounce and strength. Equally, it helps the dough trap gas producing the risen affect you would find in baked goods. Due to these culinary properties, gluten is also frequently used as an additive. 

Which foods contain Gluten?

Barley, rye and wheat are the most common gluten-containing grains. Some popular sources of gluten-based foods are: 

  • White bread and pasta
  • Beer and Brewer’s yeast
  • Cakes, cookies, and pastries
  • Some cereal
  • Processed condiments and sauces. 

Gluten can also be found in dietary supplements, prescription medication, cosmetics and many dental hygiene products. 

What’s the problem with Gluten? 

Most people can tolerate gluten with no adverse effects, yet for some, the opposite can occur. This results in digestive discomforts and many health concerns. To name a few, bloating and digestive upsets, wheat allergy, neurological issues and diagnosed celiac disease. 

Gluten intolerance is caused by an immune reaction. Gluten is recognised as a toxin in the body triggering an inflammatory response affecting the intestinal tract. Gliadin is the component of gluten that causes the intolerance. The essential enzymes needed for digesting this protein are often lacking or missing completely. 

So, removing gluten from the diet can make an enormous improvement. You can achieve this by seeking advice from a healthcare professional, trying a gluten free diet and selected healthful foods, and staying educated around what to look for when reading food labels. 

We recommend that you should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a related medical condition. 

Hilary Te Hira, Consulting Natural Health Specialist.