What is Gluten-Free?

What is Gluten-Free?


With a rising number of people talking and speaking about gluten-free, it begs the question: What is Gluten-Free?

We will approach this answer in an easy 1-2-3 fashion by answering: 1) What is gluten? 2) How is gluten digested? and 3) Why would someone choose to be gluten-free?

Finally, we will answer the question, why is this becoming more and more prevalent?

What is gluten?

Gluten is a combination of two proteins found in grains: gliadin and glutenin. These two proteins work together to create a tough protein network, also known as a protein matrix. This is useful in making bread because this tough gluten matrix is able to trap any air bubbles created while the dough rises.

Glutenin is a long stringy protein, and connects over a great distance.

Gliadin, however, is a densely packed globular protein, and this is what is generally the issue with gluten-sensitive individuals. Gliadin belongs to the prolamine class of proteins, a group of densely packed proteins with high levels of two non-essential amino acids: proline and glutamine. This class of proteins is difficult to dissolve in water, difficult to digest, and occurs in nearly every cereal grain, not just wheat.

Learn more about Gliadin, with our article: “What is Gliadin?”

Baking Science and Technology. E. J. Pyler, Volume II. 2009

Proteins in Cereal Grains

Corn Causes Similar Response as Wheat in Celiac Patients: Maize Prolamin Article

Gluten-Sensitivity is due to Gliadin Peptides

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