Gluten often has a bad reputation and is popularly considered unhealthy. The protein mixture is found in most grains and serves as a kind of binding agent. We have put together a small overview of the occurrence and effects of gluten for you.
In this article, you'll learn what gluten is all about and why it's not quite as bad as people say. In addition, we have summarized everything you need to know about gluten-free cereals in this article so that you can get the best information.
the essentials in brief
- Gluten is a protein containing protein. It is found in most grains. It is often used for baking. For example, it provides the typical consistency of cookies.
- There are people who can develop gluten intolerance. These people should stay away from foods containing gluten. The same applies to people with an autoimmune disease.
- Gluten is not harmful per se. There are still no solid studies that show that gluten causes long-term problems in healthy people. Nevertheless, there are many gluten-free cereals and therefore enough alternatives.
Background: What is gluten-free grain?
In the following you will find out what gluten is all about and which gluten-free grain alternatives are available. We have selected the most relevant questions for you and found the right answers.
What is gluten and what does it contain?
Gluten is a protein or protein mixture. It is found in many grains. The gluten content is relatively high, especially in wheat. This is followed by rye and spelt. But gluten, which consists of protein molecules, is also found in many other types of grain. (1,2)
Wheat, in particular, is used in many pasta products. It contains large amounts of the protein glue gluten. Among other things, it ensures the firm and fluffy consistency of bread. (Image source: Fleur / unsplash)
Gluten gives baked goods their soft yet crispy consistency. This is why grains such as wheat are often used for baking. It is therefore also called glue protein. (2)
Gluten should not be confused with glutamate. Glutamate is a salt derived from glutamic acid. It is used as a flavor enhancer in ready meals or seasoning mixes. (1)
What does gluten do in the body?
Since these are proteins, one might assume that gluten would not harm the body. However, gluten does not really have much added value for the human body. Many people can develop gluten intolerance.
These manifest themselves in various symptoms such as migraines or indigestion. The side effects can be physical, psychological and neurological. (1)
It remains to be said that research is divided as to whether gluten can even be harmful to people without an intolerance. It remains to be said that there may not be any health benefits to be gained from gluten.
Is gluten harmful / healthy?
Gluten can be linked to digestive problems. One component of gluten is the protein gliadin. This cannot be completely broken down by people with an intolerance to the digestive enzymes. This can trigger inflammatory reactions. (1)
In the case of gluten intolerance, the digestive system often cannot function efficiently enough. Possible inflammation Indigestion can spread in this way. (Image source: Ava Sol / unsplash)
However, as a rule, gluten is not immediately harmful. As already mentioned, various symptoms can occur in the event of an intolerance. It should therefore be clear that gluten cannot usually have any serious effects on groups of people who do not have an autoimmune disease, so-called celiac disease, or who do not have an intolerance.
How sensible is a gluten-free diet?
Gluten is found in many foods such as pasta, pastries and cakes. In fact, it is of course unhealthy if you consume too much of it. A gluten-free diet is a difficult transition. Since gluten is found in many foods containing grain, gluten-free means that you do not eat a wide range of foods. (4)
Of course there are other products containing gluten. In these, a type of grain containing gluten is usually processed. For example, beer and drinks containing oats are also gluten-containing products.
We have listed the advantages and disadvantages of a gluten-free diet for you:
In the case of an intolerance or an autoimmune disease, it is advisable to avoid gluten in order to get rid of the associated symptoms. (4.5"> If you want to do without gluten despite the absence of such symptoms, you will find a list of gluten-free alternatives in the next section.
Which gluten-free cereals are there?
Below is a list of grains with and without gluten. This overview is intended to give you an overview of the variety of grain types (3.8">:
- Cereals with gluten: wheat, barley, rye, spelt, triticale, emmer, kamut, unripe spelt, bulgur, couscous
- Grains without gluten: corn, rice, millet, buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth, locust bean gum, guar gum, tapioca (manioc), potatoes, chestnuts
A few of these alternatives will give you a gluten-free substitute for baking or cooking. Keep in mind that each type of grain has its own characteristics and can therefore be more or less useful for other purposes.
What alternatives are there to gluten-containing grains when cooking / baking?
If you are planning to bake or bread something in the near future and do not want to do without the crispy firm consistency, we have selected a few alternatives for you. You can use corn or rice flour instead of regular flour. (7)
Almost every classic baking recipe contains gluten. However, there are many gluten-free recipes. For example, other flour is used for this. (Image source: Antonio Werner / unsplash)
These two alternatives are completely gluten-free. However, if you are unsure, check with the manufacturer. This indicates the gluten content either on the packaging or online in the product description.
Below is a list of gluten-free ingredients:
|Flour||Buckwheat, rice, chickpeas, chestnuts, oats, corn, brown millet, soy, coconut, almonds, teff|
|food starch||Corn or potatoes are often used here.|
|sauce binder||Rice and wholemeal flour are mixed here.|
Gluten-free sauce thickeners or cornstarch are also available in different varieties. From potatoes to chickpeas, many gluten-free foods serve the required purpose.
Gluten-free / gluten-free, does it make a difference?
Meat and vegetables that are breaded or floured in particular are a temptation for many. Many breadings contain gluten. It provides a certain bite and a crispy mouthfeel. (3)
Purely for your health, the avoidance of gluten probably won't make all that much difference. Provided that you do not suffer from any of the above-mentioned previous illnesses or intolerances. (6)
In this case, strict distancing from foods containing gluten is advisable.
If you still want to do without it, there are plenty of alternatives. However, as already mentioned, a major change in diet is required. Since gluten is contained in most ready meals, it is advisable to always cook with fresh and gluten-free ingredients at this point.
As you can see, gluten is ubiquitous in many foods. You should only do without it if your body cannot tolerate it. Otherwise, gluten has no negative health effects as of today. (6)
Whether a gluten-free diet is beneficial for healthy people has not yet been sufficiently researched. Nevertheless, it can't hurt to eat gluten-free from time to time. Avoiding gluten is advisable, especially if you have gluten intolerance or an autoimmune disease.
There is now a large selection of gluten-free cereals. You will also find many recipes with gluten-free ingredients if required. Note, however, that going gluten-free can be a difficult transition. The protein mixture is in fact contained in the majority of processed foods.
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