What is gluten and gluten sensitivity?
Where is Gluten coming from?
Gluten (from Latin gluten, “glue”) is a group of proteins, called prolamins and glutelins which occur with starch in the endosperm of various cereal grains. 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.
Generally, bread flours are high in gluten (hard wheat); pastry flours have a lower gluten content. Kneading promotes the formation of gluten strands and cross-links, creating baked products that are chewier (as opposed to more brittle or crumbly). The “chewiness” increases as the dough is kneaded for longer times. An increased moisture content in the dough enhances gluten development, and very wet doughs left to rise for a long time require no kneading. Shortening inhibits formation of cross-links and is used, along with diminished water and less kneading, when a tender and flaky product, such as a pie crust, is desired.
Gluten is often present in beer and soy sauce, and can be used as a stabilizing agent in more unexpected food products, such as ice cream and ketchup. Foods of this kind may therefore present problems for a small number of consumers because the hidden gluten constitutes a hazard for people with coeliac disease and gluten sensitivities. The protein content of some pet foods may also be enhanced by adding gluten.
What cause Gluten intolerance?
Gluten can trigger adverse inflammatory, immunological and autoimmune reactions in some people.
Gluten can produce a broad spectrum of gluten-related disorders, including celiac disease in 1–2% of the general population, non-celiac 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.
Gluten free shopping
- Fresh fish, meat and poultry
- Nuts and seeds
- Vegetables, see my Cesar salad recipe, delightful
- Gluten free bread
Check the labels and make sure it says gluten free on you, anything with grain, you condiments.
High fiber food that is gluten-free
gluten-free diet includes naturally gluten-free food, such as meat, fish, seafood, eggs, milk and dairy products, nuts, legumes, fruit, vegetables, potatoes, pseudocereals (in particular amaranth, buckwheat, chia seed, quinoa), only certain cereal grains (corn, rice, sorghum), minor cereals (including fonio, Job’s tears, millet, teff, called “minor” cereals as they are “less common and are only grown in a few small regions of the world”), some other plant products (arrowroot, mesquite flour, sago, tapioca) and products made from these gluten-free foods.
Make sure to check the label on the before you buy it.
Regulation and labels
The Australian government recommends that:
- food labelled gluten-free include no detectable gluten (<3ppm)oats or their products, cereals containing gluten that have been malted or their products
- food labelled low gluten claims such that the level of 20 mg gluten per 100 g of the food
All food products must be clearly labelled whether they contain gluten or they are gluten free] Since April 2016, the declaration of the possibility of cross-contamination is mandatory when the product does not intentionally add any allergenic food or its derivatives, but the Good Manufacturing Practices and allergen control measures adopted are not sufficient to prevent the presence of accidental trace amounts. When a product contains the warning of cross-contamination with wheat, rye, barley, oats and their hybridised strains, the warning “contains gluten” is mandatory. The law does not establish a gluten threshold for the declaration of its absence.
Health Canada considers that foods containing levels of gluten not exceeding 20 ppm as a result of contamination, meet the health and safety intent of section B.24.018 of the Food and Drug Regulations when a gluten-free claim is made.[
Any intentionally added gluten, even at low levels must be declared on the packaging and a gluten-free claim would be considered false and misleading. Labels for all food products sold in Canada must clearly identify the presence of gluten if it is present at a level greater than 10 ppm.
The EU European Commission delineates the categories as:
- gluten-free: 20 ppm or less of gluten
- very low gluten foodstuffs: 20-100ppm gluten.
All foods containing gluten as an ingredient must be labelled accordingly as gluten is defined as one of the 14 recognised EU allergens.
Until 2012 anyone could use the gluten-free claim with no repercussion. In 2008, Wellshire Farms chicken nuggets labelled gluten-free were purchased and samples were sent to a food allergy laboratory where they were found to contain gluten. After this was reported in the Chicago Tribune, the products continued to be sold. The manufacturer has since replaced the batter used in its chicken nuggets. The U.S. first addressed gluten-free labelling in the 2004 Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA). The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau published interim rules and proposed mandatory labelling for alcoholic products in 2006. The FDA issued their Final Rule on August 5, 2013. When a food producer voluntarily chooses to use a gluten-free claim for a product, the food bearing the claim in its labelling may not contain:
- an ingredient that is a gluten-containing grain
- an ingredient that is derived from a gluten-containing grain that has not been processed to remove gluten
- an ingredient that is derived from a gluten-containing grain, that has been processed to remove gluten but results in the presence of 20 ppm or more gluten in the food. Any food product claiming to be gluten-free and also bearing the term “wheat” in its ingredient list or in a separate “Contains wheat” statement, must also include the language “*the wheat has been processed to allow this food to meet the FDA requirements for gluten-free foods,” in close proximity to the ingredient statement.
Any food product that inherently does not contain gluten may use a gluten-free label where any unavoidable presence of gluten in the food bearing the claim in its labelling is below 20 ppm gluten.