Gluten is at the heart of media debates at a time when so-called “civilization” diseases are on the rise. If you are health conscious then everything you need to know about Gluten is mandated.
This protein, which is mainly found in wheat flour, is the cause of intolerance, especially at the digestive level.
We note that more and more people have decided to reduce or even eliminate gluten from their diet.
Is it really necessary to avoid gluten in your diet? What are the benefits of following a gluten-free diet? And what are gluten-free foods? So let’s start with Gluten-Free Foods details.
What is gluten?
Gluten comes from the Latin gluten which means “glue”: this name is linked to the fact that when we extract the starch from cereals that contain gluten, we obtain a viscous and elastic mass.
Gluten is a group of proteins, 80% present in cereals. It is itself made up of two subgroups of proteins: glutenins, insoluble in alcohol, and prolamins, soluble in alcohol.
These prolamins are toxic molecules for the body and there are different kinds for each grain: gliadins for wheat, secalins for rye, hordein for barley, and avenin for oats.
Gluten is formed when flour is mixed with water, acting as a binder, texturizer, and stabilizer so popular in our modern cuisine.
What is gluten used for?
Gluten is therefore the protein that gives the dough its elasticity, its cohesion and allows it to rise.
Indeed, when kneading the dough, a gluten network is formed and its properties give it the ability to bind water to hydrate the flours and give the dough a less sticky texture.
This gluten network also has the ability to retain gas, allowing the bread to gain more volume and form an elastic crust and therefore less fragile.
Finally, gluten provides a crumb that is both airy and soft. Gluten, therefore, meets all the criteria for obtaining good leavened bread, but it is also found in many products, such as meats, cold cuts, or ready-made meals, to bind, thicken and give texture to industrial preparations.
This is why wheat flour is used so much in cooking: not only is it inexpensive, but it gives culinary preparations a perfect consistency.
What foods are gluten-free?
Here is a non-exhaustive list of gluten-free foods:
- Dairy products.
Gluten-free dairy products are plain milk (fresh or pasteurized), plain yogurt, Fromage blanc, plain petits-suisse, and all cooked cheeses, soft or pressed. Dairy products to avoid are those containing cereals or muesli.
- Cereals, flour and starch.
Gluten-free cereals and their derivatives (starch, flour, starch, cream, semolina, or flakes) are corn, rice, soybeans, buckwheat, cassava, quinoa, millet, potato starch, corn starch.
Grain products to avoid are all wheat, barley, oat, rye-based products: bread, pasta, pastries, cookies, pizzas, quiches, pie crusts, breadcrumb, etc.
Gluten-free legumes are lentils, chickpeas, dried beans, red beans, flageolet beans, etc. Chestnuts and their derivatives (flour, cream, flakes, etc.) are also gluten-free.
- Seeds and oilseeds.
The seeds and oilseeds are all gluten-free but they must be eaten plain, not dry roasted, neither salted nor spicy: walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios, sesame, flax.
- Meats and poultry.
All-natural meats and poultry are gluten-free, eaten fresh or frozen. The “pure beef” ground steaks and plain offal are also gluten-free.
- Cooked meats.
Gluten-free cold cuts are white ham, raw ham, bacon, salted breast, smoked or not, plain sausage meat.
Cold cuts to avoid are puff pastry and breaded cold cuts.
- The fish.
Gluten-free fish are natural fish, whether fresh, salted, smoked, or frozen. Canned fish in brine and in oil, seafood, crustaceans, and mollusks are also gluten-free.
All eggs are gluten-free.
- Fatty substances.
All butter is gluten-free as well as fats such as veg, oil, lard.
- The vegetables.
The vegetables are all gluten-free, whether they are fresh, dry, frozen. The vegetables to avoid are those already prepared in sauce or soup.
- The fruits.
All fresh, frozen fruit is gluten-free. The same goes for dried fruits, in compote or in syrup, canned. Regarding candied fruits, it is recommended to find out if there are no traces of gluten.
- Sugars and sweet products.
Gluten-free sugars are white sugar, brown sugar, cane sugar, honey, jams, cocoa, maple syrup, agave syrup, caramel, glucose syrup, lactose, and fructose.
Sugars or sweet products to avoid are those containing malt or malt flavor as well as those containing wheat, barley, oat, or rye flour.
- The desserts.
Gluten-free desserts are sorbets, compotes, fruit salads, desserts made from milk and eggs, creams made from authorized starch or starch cream, desserts containing gelatin, agar-agar.
Industrial preparations should be avoided as well as cones, ice creams and cereal-based desserts containing gluten.
- The drinks.
Gluten-free drinks are coffee, tea, chicory, infusions, freeze-dried coffee, fruit juices, sodas, wine, certified gluten-free beer.
Drinks to avoid are beer, coolers, beverages, and beverage powders made with malt or cereals.
Gluten-free condiments are herbs, pure spices, peppercorns, pickles, salt, Tamari (100% Japanese soy sauce). Condiments to avoid are those made from wheat protein.
Some additives do not contain gluten per se but may have been contaminated during their manufacture or contain gluten residues such as wheat starch, dextrin, maltodextrin, barley malt.
Among them are thickeners, flavor enhancers, stabilizers, emulsifiers, gelling agents, baking powders, flavorings, and colorings, etc.
What is gluten intolerance?
Gluten intolerance only affects people who are genetically predisposed. In them, gluten provokes an inflammatory response, which progressively alters the villi of the intestinal mucosa.
These are then less and less able to properly assimilate nutrients, causing significant difficulties, especially during digestion.
The only solution for these gluten intolerant people is to completely exclude gluten from their diet.
Today we are seeing an increasing number of people claiming to be gluten intolerant, but the reality is that those with true gluten make up only a small percentage of the population.
A gluten-free diet means excluding all foods that contain it. People with gluten intolerance see improvement after a few months of a gluten-free diet, which definitely confirms the diagnosis.
What foods contain gluten?
The main sources of gluten are cereals and their derivatives such as flour, cream, etc. are wheat, rye, oats, and barley.
Oats may be an exception because the gluten molecule it contains is different from wheat gluten and causes less inflammation.
However, according to scientific studies, people with gluten intolerance can consume up to 50 g of oats per day (depending on the tolerance level).
In this case, they will give preference to oats with the “crossed out ear” logo which guarantees that they have not been contaminated with gluten from wheat, barley, or rye.
Many industrial products contain gluten because wheat flour is often present in these products in order to give these preparations a better texture and make them more stable.
It is therefore important to pay attention to the composition of the products by checking the list of ingredients on the label.
Following a gluten-free diet is above all an approach that targets people with gluten intolerance.
However, this diet may be beneficial for some people who are sensitive to gluten but may not be suitable for everyone.
In some people, the discomfort can be improved or even disappear, in others, removing gluten does not bring any improvement and therefore requires more adapted and individualized support.
However, it should be noted that the gluten-free diet encourages a more natural, more balanced, and healthier diet, so if you do not have a real gluten intolerance, it may not be necessary to follow a diet.
So now you must be understood how important it is. There are multiple companies that offer gluten-free foods. Idowaz is one of those that deliver gluten-free food to your doorstep.
The best part is Idowaz gives you the surety of gluten-free food as it does tie-up with registered and certified stalls and restaurants.
For health-conscious people, they added a separate option as well. This is everything you need to know about Gluten.