Gluten Guide - Understanding the Origins of Gluten
Despite being one of the most common ingredients in the western diet, many people know little to nothing about gluten. In this article we will help you understand exactly what it is and why it is used in so many foods. This is more important than ever because of the many conditions people are starting to associate with its consumption.
What Is Gluten?
Many people call gluten a protein. In fact, it is not a protein itself. Rather, it is a composite of the proteins glutenin and gliadin. You can find this protein composite in grassy grains like wheat, barley and rye. Despite referring to gluten in things like rice, those foods don't actually contain this protein composite. It is most commonly manufactured and used from wheat.
Why Do We Use Gluten?
Western and modern cultures use gluten for several different reasons. In some cases, gluten is used as a binder, helping to keep different ingredients blended together in an appealing or useful way. This is how it is used in products such as supplements.
It sometimes is used to provide heavier substance to some products, like in sauces. If you are gluten sensitive, you should examine things like soy sauces and barbecue sauces for gluten.
It is also often used for its high protein value. Gluten is often used as an additive to make foods that otherwise would be low in protein much higher in protein. Thus you will frequently find it in meat-substitute foods, such as veggie sandwich slices.
But of course, we are all most familiar with gluten's use in our baked goods. It provides the chewy elasticity we've come to love in everything from breads to cakes and cookies.
As a culture, we have integrated gluten into many of our foods because it is easy to manufacture and process. The grains from which it derives are hearty and robust and thus easy to farm, and processing it is easy because it is water insoluble, making it easy to isolate and utilize on its own.
When Did We Start Using Gluten?
When man started settling in single locations and became agricultural, various forms of gluten-containing foods became a part of our life. Its fiber and protein helped man sustain itself through farming and instead of being nomadic.
Basically, when we became more civilized and settled down, we discovered the wonder of grinding down grains and making foods from the processed concentrations of those grains.
Is Gluten Safe?
While most people still feel that gluten is a healthy part of a good diet, there is a growing part of the health industry that is becoming a little concerned about it. While it may be fine for most people, and it does contribute fiber, protein and vitamins like B and folic acid to our diets, there are a growing number of people who are discovering that they experience an adverse reaction to consuming foods with gluten.
Gluten is the specific trigger for the autoimmune disease celiac disease. There are varying degrees of gluten sensitivity even beyond people diagnosed with celiac disease.
This should provide you with a more sound and complete understanding of a food you are consuming in vast quantities on a daily basis.
Discover the real concerns with gluten at this completely free and comprehensive gluten intolerance
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