What is Gluten and Its Effects?

what is gluten

You may have heard of the term ‘gluten’ but yet you may still be unaware of what it actually means. If you wish to find out– what is gluten, then read on to find out further information about it. What is Gluten? – ‘gluten’ is a type of protein – a special protein which is a combination of two kinds of proteins: gliadin and glutenin. This is usually found in wheat, rye and barley. Thus gluten is also found in a lot of cereals and it is also found in different types of breads. However, you should not think that all grains contain gluten, as they do not. Grains like rice, millet, buckwheat, corn etc do not have gluten in them. There are diverse types of foods that are prepared by wheat and thus have gluten in them.

What is Gluten?

Although all the gluten contained in wheat flour cannot be removed, producing wheat starch can help to eliminate a part of it. According to the FDA or the Food and Drug Administration, even if a part of gluten is removed from the product, the product is labeled as “gluten free”.  Gluten is the substance that gives the bread an elastic texture and it also gives it a chewy feel in the mouth. It also makes the dough sticky before the bread is prepared. Gluten is also an absorbent, which makes the breads capable of soaking up the broth.  It is also the same gluten in breads that is responsible for making breads stale.

It is believed that Buddhist monks in China, in the 7th century AD, discovered gluten. They used to consume wheat as a substitute for a non-vegetarian diet, which helped to keep them well nourished. Development of gluten affects the texture of many baked foods. The attainable elasticity of gluten is proportional to the amount of low molecular weight glutenins. More development of the protein gives you food like pizza, and bagels, which have a crusty taste to them. Lesser development of the gluten helps prepare tender confectioneries. The gluten strands are formed as a result of the kneading action. Gluten development takes place when the wetness of the dough increases.

Gluten is extracted from flour by thoroughly washing the starch out. If saline water is used instead of plain water, a purer blend of protein can be obtained, with few impurities going into the solution, along with the starch. Some people have an allergy towards gluten. It is suggested that they go for a gluten free diet in order to control their allergy. A gluten free diet is not a weight loss diet, but it actively helps keep the allergy away for certain people. So, that finally answers your initial question, what is gluten.

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