What Is Gluten Anyway?

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What Is Gluten Anyway?
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What Is Gluten Anyway?

Read on for a quick, simple tutorial – Gluten 101 if you will.

Gluten is a combination of two proteins, found in certain grains that gives dough its elasticity and contributes to its shape and texture.

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It is found in wheat, barley and rye.

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Gluten is used also for thickening soups, condiments and seasonings. Because of its texture creating properties, it can be found in many processed foods.

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Who shouldn’t eat gluten? Gluten-free has gotten a lot of press for being a cure all, but this is misleading. There are real diseases which require a gluten-free diet.

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Wheat allergy is the most serious and it is very rare. People with this true allergy exhibit the same types of symptoms as those with other food allergies, such as skin reactions and respiratory symptoms.

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Celiac disease was discovered years ago, but was only diagnosed in a small percentage of people who actually suffer from the disease. It results in an immune response, which causes actual damage to the small intestine. This gets in the way of the body absorbing all the nutrients it needs.

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According to the National Institute of Health, about 1 in 133 people in America suffer from celiac disease.

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Non-celiac gluten sensitivity was named more recently. While further study is needed, we know it causes similar symptoms to celiac disease, without causing the actual damage to the small intestine.

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Common symptoms of non-celiac gluten sensitivity include bloating and abdominal pain, fatigue, headaches and even, depression and mood swings.

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If you suspect you have a gluten intolerance, do not cut gluten out of your diet completely. Cut back and see how you feel. If your symptoms improve, see your physician. A complete gluten free diet prior to being tested can skew the results.

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Ten years ago, gluten sounded like a special kind of adhesive. Now, gluten free is as common as sugar free, and yet, there is still much confusion about what it is and who should avoid it.

Check out the slideshow above to learn more about gluten.

More from Kitchen Daily:
How to Make Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Brownie Cupcakes
1.4 Million Americans have Celiac Disease and Don't Know It
7 Gluten-Free Beers You've Gotta Try

Expert Approved Karen Latimer

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