We read about way too many headlines and diets about gluten these days. It appears to be the latest fad ingredient to pick on. It is serious for some, but less than one percent of the population may have Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder. Some people have been found to be allergic to wheat only, but not gluten.
Gluten is a naturally occurring protein composite found primarily in
wheat, but may also be found in rye, barley, and some types of oats.
The US FDA considers foods containing less than or equal to 20 ppm
to be gluten-free, but there is no regulation or law in the US for
labeling foods as 'gluten-free'. There still is no general agreement
on the analytical method used to measure gluten in ingredients and
Gluten may be added as a stabilizing agent or thickener in products
such as ice-cream and ketchup. It is also found in ingredients of
many over-the-counter and prescription medications and vitamins.
Items such as lipstick, lip balms, lip gloss, soy sauce, barbecue
sauce, salad dressings, gravy, canned soups, ground spices to
prevent clumping, instant powdered drinks, and imitation and
pasteurized cheeses, as well as glue used on envelopes may also
Many types of alcoholic beverages are considered gluten-free,
provided no gluten colorings or other additives have been added.
Distillation removes proteins, including gluten in bourbon or corn
whiskey. Spirits made without any grain such as gin, vodka, scotch,
rye, brandy, wine, mead, cider, sherry, port, rum, tequila,
vermouth, and some beers generally do not contain gluten.
Gluten consists of gliadin and glutenin. Gliadin is one of the
proteins that forms gluten. Doctors test for anti-gliadin antibodies
if celiac disease or gluten hypersensitivity is suspected. Gliadin
triggers immune response in celiac disease. Glutenin is the other
protein of gluten. It is responsible for the strength and elasticity
Several grains and starch sources are considered acceptable for a
gluten-free diet, such as corn, potatoes, rice, some oats, tapioca,
quinoa, sorghum, taro, chia seed, and yam. Flours, such as bean,
soybean, almond, gram derived from chickpeas, and buckwheat are used
as alternatives to wheat flour.
Most humans naturally digest gluten. The human mouth contains
symbiotic bacteria colonies that help break down gluten. Gluten
allergies and sensitivities are different. Celiac disease sufferers
are allergic. Others may have similar symptoms, such as bloating,
flatulence, irritable bowel syndrome, and abdominal pain, but these
same symptoms may also be caused by any number of other dietary