Gluten is a protein composed of two subunits, gliadin and glutenin, which occurs naturally in certain cereals such as wheat, barley and rye. It gives elasticity and structure to cereal products, contributing to the characteristic texture of bread and dough.
Sources of gluten
Wheat : The main supplier of gluten, it is found in various products such as bread, pasta, cookies, cakes and cereals.
Barley : Used in the manufacture of beer and some processed foods, barley also contains gluten.
Rye: Rye is a grain rich in gluten and is often used to make certain types of bread.
Spelled and old wheat: These ancient wheat varieties also contain gluten, although some people may tolerate them better than modern wheat.
Its effects on health
Gluten is a source of protein, fiber, B vitamins and minerals such as iron and magnesium. Some people may experience gastrointestinal symptoms or headaches after eating gluten without having celiac disease.
This is called non-celiac gluten sensitivity. It is an autoimmune disease in which ingestion of gluten causes an immunological reaction that damages the lining of the small intestine, leading to malabsorption of nutrients.
Additionally, some people may develop an allergy to wheat, but this does not necessarily mean a specific reaction to gluten.
Due to gluten sensitivity and celiac disease, many gluten-free products are now available. However, it is essential to note that not all gluten-free products are necessarily healthier than their gluten-containing counterparts.
They may be enriched with nutrients, but may also contain added sugars and fats to compensate for the loss of texture and flavor resulting from the absence of gluten.
Gluten, often publicized and sometimes misunderstood, is a complex protein that can have different effects on health depending on individuals. For those who do not suffer from gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, it can be part of a balanced and nutritious diet.
However, it is essential to be aware of gluten sources and make informed dietary decisions, and you can consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice.