Gluten is a mixture of glutelin and gliadin proteins joined with starch. It is found in the endosperm of certain grains. It is the gluten that provides the elastic qualities to dough, which helps it to rise and retain shape. It also provides the chewy texture commonly associated with products made from grains. When extracted from the grain it can also added to food to boost the protein content, as a flavoring, stabilizing or thickening agent, and is also used in cosmetic products. A small percentage of people suffer from a condition known as celiac disease, which causes an undesirable immune reaction when gluten in digested. Presently, avoiding gluten is the only way to avoid the symptoms of this condition. This is why it is very important to know which foods are high in gluten.
List of foods high in gluten
A high level of gluten in found in the following grains: wheat, rye, barley and oats. Foods containing these grains or products made from these grains, such as flour, all contain a significant amount of gluten. Wheat flour is the most commonly encountered product that contains gluten. For example, most baked products, such as bread, bagels, donuts etc. contain flour and many processed foods also contain flour.
Gluten can also be extracted from these grains for use in other products where it is not usually expected. It is commonly used in meat substitutes (imitation meat), because it absorbs flavor easily and provides a firmness reminiscent to the texture of meat. Gluten is also used as a flavoring or for thickening or stabilizing many products, such as ice cream and ketchup. Soy sauce, teriyaki sauce and beer usually contain gluten. It is important to check the labels for the presence of gluten, which must be listed in most countries.
Did you know?
Trace amounts of gluten are sometimes found in foods that usually do not contain gluten, such as potato chips. This occurs because they are processed on the same production line that produces products made from wheat flour. This tiny amount can be enough to trigger symptoms in those with sever gluten intolerance!