What is Gluten and Why You Must be Aware of It?

What is gluten

What is Gluten and Why You Must be Aware of It?

You must have heard the word “gluten-free” when reading your favourite wellness blog. Many wellness experts say that gluten-free foods are healthier but what is gluten, what is gluten made of, if these questions are in your mind, read on!

Many common types of foods that we consume, contains a significant amount of gluten. Such foods include bread, chapatis made from wheat, soups, cakes, cookies, beer, and pastries.

Gluten has recently been a common buzzword. From gluten-free foods and diets to health disorders that are associated with it, a lot is being said about this particular type of protein. Since gluten is mainly found in wheat, barley and rye, can it be good for you?

Is a gluten-free diet a more sensible approach to healthy eating, as opposed to one that contains gluten? Will cutting out gluten from your diet do more harm than good? Read on to find out.

What is gluten?

Gluten refers to a group of proteins. The two main proteins that are found in gluten include glutelins and prolamins. It is usually found in food grains such as rye, wheat, barley, and spelt. Essentially, the function of gluten is to give these grains its shape, by acting as a sort of glue, which holds these foods together in place.

Wheat bread is the most commonly consumed form of gluten. The proteins found in wheat have a large amount of gluten present in it – 75 to 80% of wheat bread consists of gluten. In fact, the airy, puffy texture of bread is mainly from gluten. The elasticity that you find in the dough is also due to the presence of gluten.

Gluten is popular in the food industry. However,  gluten is used quite extensively in beauty products, medications, and a few supplements as well.

Gluten happens to trigger a few immunological, autoimmune, and inflammatory reactions in the body, for those who are either gluten intolerant or allergic to gluten. In fact, a wide range of disease falls under the bracket of gluten-related disorders.

One such disease is celiac disease. Other disorders include dermatitis herpetiformis, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and gluten ataxia. The most common way to treat gluten-related disorders is by making the switch to a gluten-free diet. (13)

what is gluten made of

what is gluten made of

Gluten Meaning in English

Gluten means “glue”, in Latin. This group of protein can hold food together and give it shape. It is because of this attribute that gluten gets its name. It has adhesive properties, and it can also give elasticity, especially in the form of dough.

It is a protein that gives bread its airy and fluffy texture and dough its sticky texture. It’s also used as a stabilizing agent in many processed foods, such as desserts, salad dressings and mayonnaise.

Real Gluten facts – You do not know:

It is in almost everything from beauty products to packaged foods to medications and supplements.

Gluten is found in some grains, mainly wheat. Almost all children with Autism have Gastrointestinal (GI) Disturbances. Some even have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or Leaky Gut Syndrome. These disorders are linked to gluten. Also, they are seen in varying degrees in patients of Autism, ADHD and related disorders.

Gluten Meaning in Hindi

Gluten in hindi: लस या आटे का लस

यह एक प्रोटीन पदार्थ है जो स्टार्च को अनाज के दानों से निकाल देने के बाद बचता है। यह आते को सामंजस्य देता है

ग्लूटेन प्रोटीन के एक समूह को संदर्भित करता है। ग्लूटेन में पाए जाने वाले दो मुख्य प्रोटीनों में ग्लूटेलिन और प्रोलेमिन शामिल हैं। यह आमतौर पर राई, गेहूं, जौ, और वर्तनी जैसे खाद्य अनाज में पाया जाता है।

अनिवार्य रूप से, लस का कार्य इन अनाजों को एक प्रकार का गोंद के रूप में कार्य करके, इन अनाजों को देना है, जो इन खाद्य पदार्थों को एक साथ रखता है।

गेहूं की रोटी लस का सबसे सामान्य रूप से सेवन किया जाता है, और 75 से 80% से अधिक गेहूं की रोटी में लस होता है। वास्तव में, रोटी की हवादार, झोंके बनावट मुख्य रूप से लस से होती है।

आटा में जो लोच आप पाते हैं, वह लस की उपस्थिति के कारण ही है।

Gluten meaning in Tamil

பசையம் என்பது புரதங்களின் குழுவைக் குறிக்கிறது. பசையத்தில் காணப்படும் இரண்டு முக்கிய புரதங்களில் குளுட்டிலின்கள் மற்றும் புரோலமின்கள் அடங்கும். இது பொதுவாக கம்பு, கோதுமை, பார்லி மற்றும் எழுத்துப்பிழை போன்ற உணவு தானியங்களில் காணப்படுகிறது. அடிப்படையில், பசையத்தின் செயல்பாடு, இந்த தானியங்களுக்கு அதன் வடிவத்தை கொடுப்பதே, ஒரு வகையான பசை போல செயல்படுவதன் மூலம், இந்த உணவுகளை ஒன்றாக வைத்திருக்கும்.

கோதுமை ரொட்டி பொதுவாக பசையம் உட்கொள்ளும் வடிவமாகும், மேலும் 75 முதல் 80% க்கும் அதிகமான கோதுமை ரொட்டியில் பசையம் உள்ளது. உண்மையில், ரொட்டியின் காற்றோட்டமான, வீங்கிய அமைப்பு முக்கியமாக பசையத்திலிருந்து வருகிறது.
மாவில் நீங்கள் காணும் நெகிழ்ச்சித்தன்மையும் பசையம் இருப்பதால் தான்.

List of Gluten Foods in India

Here are all the foods that contain gluten:

  • Wheat
  • Rye
  • Barley
  • Spelt
  • Pasta
  • Bread
  • Beer
  • Bulgur
  • Semolina
  • Triticale
  • Cereals
  • Cookies
  • Cakes
  • Kamut Matzo
  • Farina
  • Seitan
  • Cream sauces
  • Malt extracts
  • Oats
  • Soy Sauce
  • Beer

Out of these, wheat is the most commonly consumed form of gluten. The three main sources of gluten, are wheat, barley, rye.

The gluten from wheat is commonly found in foods like bread, soup, pasta, roux, and other baked goods. The gluten from rye is commonly found in foods such as cereals, rye beer, and bread made from rye.

Most Gluten Rich Foods List

  • All-purpose flour
  • Rye Flour
  • Whole Grain Bread
  • White Bread
  • Wheat Crackers
  • Spelt Bread
  • Rye Bread
  • Pot Barley
  • Pizza Tops
  • Multigrain Bagel
  • Nutrigrain Bar
  • Dry Penne Pasta (Source)

Unexpected Gluten Foods

  • Beers made from wheat and rye contain significant amounts of gluten.
  • The gluten from barley is commonly found in foods such as beer, soups, food colouring, malt flavouring, malt extract, malted milkshakes, and malted barley flour. (19)
  • Vegetables in cans or in ready meals are not tolerated if they contain certain emulsifiers, preservatives, thickening agents, stabilisers or starch!
  • Fruit fillings tend to contain thickening agents and starch
  • Several types of cheese contain thickening agents.
  • Sausage products and cold meats are often not gluten-free.
  • Fish products, preserved fish, fish in batter.
  • Bread crumbs contain gluten.
  • Margarine and vegetable oils need to be checked for unsuitable additives.
  • Instant coffee, granulated coffee, ready-made coffee or cocoa (e.g. from drinks machines), beer, malt drinks
  • Seitan (wheat gluten) (Source)

Labels with Hidden Gluten

If you find the following on your food labels, chances are that it contains gluten:

  1. Maltodextrin
  2. Added Vegetable Protein
  3. Malts
  4. Starches
  5. Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP)
  6. Texturized vegetable protein (TVP)
  7. Natural Flavouring
  8. Nature Identical Flavouring (17)

During processing and packaging cross-contamination of these grains with gluten can and does occur, mostly because the same facility is used to process gluten-containing or wheat products. Gluten is commonly found (hidden) in many processed foods. Quite a few food additives are made from gluten-grains.

most gluten rich foods list

Gluten-Free Foods (Source)

GrainsCorn (maize), rice, wild rice, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, quinoa
VegetablesAll fresh, frozen and dried types of vegetables.
Potatoes, and potato flour, sweet potatoes, tapioca, beans, peas, lentils, soya beans, edible chestnuts
“Nuts” and seedsHazelnuts, walnuts, cashew nuts, Brazil nuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, linseed (flaxseed), coconut
FruitsAll fresh, frozen and dried fruit types
EggsBoth yoke and white
Dairy productsMilk, quark, natural yoghurt, cream, mature cheese, kefir, soured milk, whey
MeatAll types of meat, poultry and game, cooked and cured ham
Fish and shellfishFresh or smoked
Fats and OilsCorn oil, rape oil (canola oil), olive oil, sunflower oil, butter, lard, peanut butter
BeveragesFruit teas and infusions, herbal teas and infusions, juices, freshly brewed coffee
Other foodsHoney, tofu, soya milk, pure herbs (parsley, chives, mint, …) edible chestnuts

Naturally Occurring Gluten-free Grains:

Do you want to try the gluten-free diet? Gluten-free grains are available. These grains are the best substitute for wheat, rye, and barley. You can use these grains for your own gluten-free recipes.

  1. Oats
  2. Millet
  3. Buckwheat
  4. Quinoa
  5. Sorghum
  6. Soy
  7. Flax
  8. Amaranth
  9. Rice (source)

What is Gluten Intolerance

Gluten intolerance is a medical condition which affects the autoimmune system and digestive tract. It happens to be a relatively common disorder. It essentially refers to the adverse reactions that your body might experience after the consumption of gluten.

Gluten Intolerance Meaning

Gluten Intolerance involves the digestive system and leads to food allergy. If you are intolerant to gluten, your immune system overreacts to gluten foods causing symptoms that are potentially serious or even life-threatening. (source)

One of the most common diseases associated with gluten intolerance is celiac disease. Celiac disease is an inherited autoimmune disorder that can damage the small intestine. There are gluten intolerance related disorders that are non-celiac in nature as well. Celiac disease, a form of gluten intolerance is a condition that affects the autoimmune system. It can cause several issues with the digestive system as well.

On average, close to 1% of the population suffers from celiac disease.  There are other diseases that fall under the category of gluten intolerance, which is known as non-celiac diseases. (16) 

Gluten intolerance symptoms

  1. Irritable bowel, diarrhoea OR constipation
  2. Mood Swings/ Depression
  3. Gastric Reflux
  4. Poor Growth/ Failure to thrive in children.
  5. Behavioural Problems in children
  6. Low Energy/ Exhaustion
  7. Headaches and Migraine
  8. ADHD
  9. Autoimmune Diseases such as Lupus, Eczema, Hypothyroidism etc. (16)

Real Gluten Facts – You do not know

Modern wheat has 50 times – yes, that’s right- 50 times the amount of gluten that was present in the older varieties that our ancestors ate.

Gluten side effects

If you have a gluten intolerance, you should avoid foods that contain gluten. Here are some of the common side effects of gluten allergy:

1. Autoimmune disorders

One of the signs that you have gluten intolerance is if you develop certain autoimmune disorders. In fact, celiac disease happens to be an autoimmune disorder. If you are suffering from celiac disease, your immune system will begin to attack your own digestive system, which contains gluten. (2)

Unfortunately, celiac disease paves the way to other autoimmune disorders as well, one of which is autoimmune thyroid disease.
It is worth noting that while the celiac disease can cause autoimmune disorders, if you are suffering from non-celiac gluten sensitivity, then there are no risks associated with autoimmune disorders. (1)

2. Bloating

Bloating is another common sign that is associated with gluten intolerance. When you feel bloated, your stomach feels full and swollen or full of gas. Bloating is associated with several other disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome, but it is one of the most common signs of gluten intolerance. According to one study, it was observed that 87% of the candidates who were suffering from non-celiac related gluten sensitivity also experienced bloating. (3) This is one of the most common gluten effects on body if you are gluten intolerant.

3. Pain in the abdomen

Like bloating, pain in the abdomen is one of the most common signs of gluten intolerance. Over 83% of people who suffer from gluten intolerance complain of abdominal discomfort or pain. (4)

4. Diarrhoea and constipation

Diarrhoea and constipation are both signs of gluten intolerance. It can be a symptom of other underlying causes as well. Both diarrhoea and constipation take place because of your body’s inability to absorb nutrition. Gluten intolerance can worsen this condition.

In the case of diarrhoea, patients who suffer from celiac disease often observe foul-smelling faeces as well. Consuming gluten can cause intestinal damage to people who have a wheat allergy and gluten allergy. (5)

5. Gluten Allergy Skin Rash

Your skin can get affected if you are suffering from gluten intolerance as well. One of the skin diseases associated with gluten intolerance is dermatitis herpetiformis. It is the manifestation of celiac disease in your skin. Other skin disorders associated with gluten intolerance are psoriasis, chronic urticaria, and alopecia areata. (6)

6. Anxiety

Close to 3 to 30% of the world’s population suffers from anxiety. Studies have shown that people who suffer from gluten intolerance are more prone to anxiety as opposed to people who do not have a gluten intolerance.

In one study it was observed that 40% of the people who suffered from gluten intolerance also complained of regular bouts of anxiety. (7)

7. Depression

Like anxiety, depression happens to be associated with gluten intolerance. This happens because gluten can affect serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin, that is found in the brain, is a neurotransmitter. Also known as the happiness hormone, an imbalance in this is a causal factor of depression.

Another way that gluten can cause depression is with the formation of gluten peptides. These gluten peptides are formed when the body digests the gluten. It can interfere with the function of the central nervous system, thereby paving the way to depression.

When your body is intolerant to gluten, it can form a rise in the number of harmful bacteria in the gut. This again can mess with the activities in the central nervous system and cause depression. (8)

8. Fatigue

Fatigue is a common sign of gluten intolerance. Individuals who suffer from gluten intolerance particular complain of fatigue after a meal that consists of gluten. Over 60% to 80% of the patients who suffer from gluten intolerance have complained of fatigue as well. (9)

9. Headache

Patients who suffer from gluten intolerance have complained of migraine or headache as well. In fact, those who suffer from gluten intolerance are more prone to migraine, as opposed to people who don’t.(10)

10. Iron deficiency anaemia

Iron deficiency anaemia is often observed in those suffering from celiac disease. If you are suffering from iron deficiency anaemia, then the small intestine’s tends to struggle with the absorption of nutrients. When this happens, the body does not absorb enough iron content from the food that you consume. (11)

11. Weight loss

If you have experienced sudden weight loss then you should be aware that it is one of the signs of gluten intolerance. This is caused due to the body’s inability to fully absorb the necessary nutrients from the food you consume. It can also be due to the other side effects of gluten intolerance like diarrhoea and digestive issues. (12)

What are you doing to avoid the side effects of gluten intolerance?

Gluten intolerance test

There are no straightforward tests to check for gluten intolerance. Most of the time, gluten intolerance is diagnosed by exclusion. First, a test is done to check if you are suffering from celiac disease. After this, tests are conducted to check for non-celiac gluten intolerance.

1. Gluten Allergy Test Kit

There are a few kits available, that can help you check if you are suffering from gluten intolerance. Usually, it requires a sample of your blood or stool. However, these tests are usually unreliable, and doctors advise against it. It is unreliable because it often shows false positive, especially if you are suffering from other allergic conditions.

2. Gluten Allergy Test

Getting a medically approved test is the most reliable way to identify if you have a gluten intolerance. Celiac disease test is the first type of test that you will have to take. It determines the possibility of celiac disease. Once this has been done, various other tests like blood tests, issue Transglutaminase IgA antibody test, IgA Endomysial antibody (EMA) test, Total serum IgA test, or Deamidated gliadin peptide (DGP) test can be conducted to determine the possibility of gluten intolerance. (18)

Suspecting Gluten intolerance – foods to avoid

If you are suffering from gluten intolerance then you must avoid all gluten-containing foods

Is gluten good for health?

The consumption of gluten has been a controversial topic.  Bread, pasta, beer, and soups are a few common foods that are rich in gluten. While people who suffer from gluten intolerance should steer clear from foods that contain gluten, the jury is still out on whether people who are tolerant of gluten should consume it.

Gluten Good or Bad

There is no compelling study that backs the fact that staying away from gluten can do anything significantly good for your health. Some research claims that removing the consumption of gluten from your diet, or a gluten-free diet might, in fact, be harmful because you tend to miss out on the nutrients that are present in whole grains like wheat, rye, or barley.

While it is advisable to stay away from foods that contain gluten if you are suffering from celiac disease or are gluten intolerant, you do not have to worry about consciously eliminating gluten from your diet if you are hale and healthy. Gluten rich grains have several complex carbohydrates that are essential for your body. They also contain folates, Vitamin B, and fibre, all of which are key nutrients that your body requires. (14)

Why is gluten bad for Health?

People who are suffering from celiac disease or other gluten-related disorders must avoid gluten. This is because you may experience adverse reactions. Here are the reasons why gluten can be bad for you.

1. It can cause inflammation in the gut, which in turn can lead to the build-up of harmful bacteria, diarrhoea, stomach pain, constipation, and bloating.

2. Gluten can also lead to a condition known as intestinal permeability. This condition is also known as a leaky gut. It is characterised by the inability of the intestine to block food from leaving through the walls of the intestine.

3. Your immune system tends to take a big hit if you are suffering from a reaction to the consumption of gluten. In some cases, such as celiac disease, the immune system begins to attack the digestive system after the consumption of gluten.

4. Consuming gluten can also have an adverse effect on your brain. Brain-related disorders like anxiety, depression, brain fog, and fatigue are all associated with gluten intolerance. This is because gluten can interfere with the functioning of the central nervous system as well as hormones like serotonin.

5. Gluten can be bad for your skin as well, leading to problems like dermatitis herpetiformis.(15)

Does rice contain gluten?

People have a common misconception that rice contains gluten. However, the truth is that rice in it natural form is, in fact, gluten-free. White rice, wild rice, as well as brown rice, are all free from gluten.

People with celiac disease are often advised to consume rice thanks to its gluten-free quality. Chapatis made from rice flour are gluten-free. Similarly, puffed rice does not have gluten either.

However, there are a few cases where the rice you consume is not gluten-free. This happens when you cook rice with other products that contain gluten. For example, making rice with certain sauces like soy can make the rice rich with gluten as well.

Another case where the rice you consume might contain gluten is if it has a cross-contact with other gluten-rich grains like wheat, rye, and barley. To avoid this, you will have to buy rice that comes with a label that says it is gluten-free.

In conclusion

The consumption of gluten should be avoided by people who are suffering from celiac disease and those who are suffering from gluten intolerance. If you think you are intolerant to gluten and show signs or symptoms of gluten intolerance, talk to your doctor and get a diagnosis so you can treat this condition with immediate effect.

There is a lot of talk about inculcating a gluten-free diet into your lifestyle. However, this should not be done if you are not suffering from adverse reactions to gluten or if you are not intolerant to gluten. In doing so, you will be cutting out a lot of essential nutrients that gluten-rich foods contain. Always talk to a healthcare professional before proceeding with a lifestyle change such as a gluten-free diet.

FAQ’s

Q1 Which foods to avoid with gluten allergy?

If you are suffering from gluten intolerance then you must avoid all gluten-containing foods

Q2 What is the meaning of gluten?

Gluten means “glue”, in Latin. This group of protein can hold food together and give it shape. It is because of this attribute that gluten gets its name. It has adhesive properties, and it can also give elasticity, especially in the form of dough.

It is a protein that gives bread its airy and fluffy texture and dough its sticky texture. It’s also used as a stabilizing agent in many processed foods, such as desserts, salad dressings and mayonnaise.

Q3 What is gluten in Hindi?

Gluten is known as लस या आटे का लस in Hindi.

Q4 Does rice have gluten in it?

People have a common misconception that rice contains gluten. However, the truth is that rice in it natural form is, in fact, gluten-free. White rice, wild rice, as well as brown rice, are all free from gluten.

Q5 Is gluten bad for you?

People who are suffering from celiac disease or other gluten-related disorders must avoid gluten. This is because you may experience adverse reactions. Here are the reasons why gluten can be bad for you.

Q6 Do oats contain gluten?

A lot of people ask us this question. Well, the answer to the question: Do Oats have gluten is – It depends.

Oats in its natural form does not contain gluten. It contains a protein called avenins, which is non-toxic and tolerated by most celiac disease patients. (source)

However, most of the oats are processed in plants that process other gluten-containing grains and thereby it may be contaminated with gluten.

Q7 Is there gluten in maida.

Maida or refined flour is made from wheat. It is what we get after the bran or germ is removed from Wheat flour. The removal of brand or germ makes it a fine flour and gives a longer shelf life. As maida is made out of wheat, it contains gluten.

Q8 Is maida gluten-free?

Maida or refined flour is made from wheat. It is what we get after the bran or germ is removed from Wheat flour. The removal of brand or germ makes it a fine flour and gives a longer shelf life. As maida is made out of wheat, it contains gluten.

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