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Can anyone explain what gluten is and where it is so I can try to avoid it whenever possible?

asked by k8e over 5 years ago
9 answers 1407 views
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Sam is a trusted home cook.

added over 5 years ago

It's good that you're concerned about your diet. But unless you've had a doctor specifically tell you to avoid gluten.
Don't worry about it. it's simply wheat. Which is also found in beer, soy sauce, etc..etc.
Unless you have a specific need to avoid a particular food item don't worry. In fact, it's probably better for your body to be exposed to a wide variety of foods--instead of an increasingly diminishing circle of foods you eat. Which could ultimately limit your choices to approved vitamins pills and protein powders created in a lab.

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added over 5 years ago

Ditto to Sam. If you cook oatmeal, you'll see how gluten is formed: water and oats begin to stick together (forgot the word for it, but it begins with "c" congu...). once the water becomes thick and some of the oats begin to meld, you'll see the gluten. Kneading flour and water together also forms gluten. (hope this helps explain it).

Gluten is found in tons of grains like oatmeal, semolina, farro, etc and also products like ketchup. Bob Mill's brand grains indicate which grains are gluten-free.

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added over 5 years ago


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added over 5 years ago

Oats don't have gluten in them unless they've been contaminated by wheat (or rye, or several other grains that are very similar to wheat). The thickening of oatmeal is caused by starches, the same way cornstarch or arrowroot thickens a sauce.
If you want to play with gluten you can make a dough with wheat flour and hot water and then knead and rinse it until the starches have been removed and only the gluten remains, this is how some meat substitutes are made, especially in chinese cooking.

It's a pain to avoid, but fairly easy if you read labels and don't mind giving up conventional breads, desserts and pastas.

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added over 5 years ago

Gluten is a protein. The majority of people who have an issue with gluten have Celiac's disease. But the marketing world is find a way to sell more products by putting gluten free on their packages, because everyone is hearing about gluten free and think they have to avoid gluten, but don't know why.

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added over 5 years ago

Gluten is a protein found in certain grains---wheat, rye, and barley being the main ones--and products made from them. It''s what gives wheat breads and pasta their structure and chew.

It's also in several common additives in processed foods that don't themselves contain grain. So if you really need to avoid it for medical reasons, you'll have to do some homework and learn to read labels carefully. There are a lot of online resources for gluten-free cooking and baking and for people with celiac disease (a serious illness caused by reaction to gluten)

Oats, by the way, do NOT contain gluten, unless they happen to be contaminated with wheat or rye or other gluten-containing grains. Neither do corn or rice, among the common grains.

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Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 5 years ago

If you want to learn more about gluten free cooking, check out this blog: http://glutenfreegirl.com...

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added over 5 years ago

If you have celiac or gluten intolerance, you need to avoid gluten completely. http://celiac.org/ is the website of the Celiac Disease Foundation with important information you should know.
A 'gluten free diet' is not a weight loss diet, and it's not a fad! It is a medically indicated way of eating that you have to follow for the rest of your life.
If you are not celiac or gluten intolerant, it is beneficial to eat a wide variety of whole grains, just as we eat different kinds of fruits and vegetables or proteins from various sources. Eating the same thing all the time -- a mono-diet -- can overtax your system and limit your nutritional resources.

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added over 5 years ago

Gluten is a protein found naturally in wheat and other wheat-related grains such as spelt, rye, and barley. I can't tell you what you should worry about or not as far as your diet and body are concerned but I would say that if you're not under a doctor's care about this and you think you may have an allergy or sensitivity, you can simply cut gluten out of your diet for a substantial amount of time and see how you feel. I do know that if one is tested and diagnosed "celiac", that is considered a disease. I myself have not been tested for a gluten allergy but I do know that I feel better when I don't eat foods containing gluten. Some other grains that are safe are rice, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, millet, corn, and oats that are packaged and labled "gluten-free". The way to look for gluten free products is simple. Most companies are placing a visible label on the front of the package and it is always on the back near the ingredient list. Also, read the ingredients...if it has wheat in it, it has gluten! If it doesn't have any gluten ingredients but it was processed in a facility that produces wheat, there's a good chance that product contains traces of gluten. Depending on the severity of the allergy, this might be alright. Good luck!

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