Millions suffer from gluten intolerance. Or do they?
Seems everyone looks for a scapegoat to blame for why they don’t feel well. The scapegoat trending these days is gluten. Gluten-free foods are popping up all over grocery stores and consumers are flocking to consume them. It is estimated that 30% of the population has reduced or eliminated gluten from their diet. The questions to ask: why are so many people suddenly sensitive to gluten? Is it really necessary for otherwise healthy people to eliminate gluten? And what the heck is gluten, anyway?
What is gluten?
Gluten is a group of proteins found in grains (wheat, rye, barley and oats) and it is what makes bread and other baked goods fluffy and chewy. These grains also make up many of our pastas, granolas, noodles, tortillas, salad dressings and beers. The two main proteins in gluten are glutenin and gliadin which have elastic properties. When mixed with water and kneaded, the gluten gives elasticity to the dough. It’s like glue, serving as a scaffold upon which bread and other products are formed. In fact, the name gluten is derived from this glue-like property.