What are gluten

What are gluten?

What are glutenMost people know gluten as one of the many ingredients in bread products. Gluten are a mixture of proteins which can be found in wheat and other grains, including rye and barley. Gluten are also known because people have allergies to it, such as coeliac disease, gluten sensitivity and wheat allergy. This article will address the extraction process, the use of gluten and the different allergies associated with gluten.


Gluten are composed of glutelins, prolamins and proteins. Also, they are kept together with starch which can be found in the endosperm of various grains. All of the world, gluten are known for being a source of protein. They are used in foods directly or gluten can be used as an additive to nutrition products which are otherwise low in protein. Moreover, the product is known for having a high content of prolines and glutamines, and having low nutritional and biological value. Gluten free products, on the other hand, are high in biological value. While some grains such as rice and maize are sometimes called glutens, their proteins differ from actual gluten. Gluten are extracted from flour. By kneading the flour the gluten are accumulated and become an elastic dough which can be washed out of the starch. In cold water, the starch granules disperse and the starch is collected as sediment and dried. However, if a salty solution is used instead of water, a more purer form of protein is obtained from the starch. When cooking at home or in a restaurant, wheat flour dough is kneaded under water until the starch is completely dispersed. When produced on a big scale, wheat flour is kneaded by machinery until the gluten accumulate into a larger mass.  By means of centrifugation, the mass is collected and continuous in a few different stages of the production process. As part of the final step, the gluten are milled and sifted to produce one uniform product.

Use of gluten

One of the most common methods of use of gluten are in bread products. Gluten form a network with glutenin molecules, which contributes to the thickness and extensibility to the mix. If yeast is added to the dough, the fermentation process starts. This means that the fermentation process produces carbon dioxide bubbles. Since these bubbles are trapped by the gluten network, the dough rises. Baking causes the gluten to consolidate which in turn stabilizes the shape of the final product. Moreover, it is known that gluten binds water through the process of hydration which contributes to the staling of bread products. The way gluten develop affects the final product of the baked goods and its elasticity. The more gluten are refined, the more chewy the final products are. For example, pizza dough and bagels are products of which the gluten are more refined. Pastry products, on the other hand, contain gluten that are less refined and are therefore more tender baked. The chewiness of bread products depends on the time the dough is kneaded. If the dough is kneaded for a longer period of the, the chewiness of the final product increased. For example, the dough of a pie crust is more tender and flaky. This means that the it is not necessary for the dough to be kneaded for a long period of time. In order for bakers to know the elasticity and the strength of gluten in flour, they use a farinograph. A farinograph indicates the elasticity of gluten and thereby helps the baker by developing different varieties of flours to create various final baked goods. While the main use of gluten are in bread products, it is also added to imitation meat. Wheat gluten, especially, are often used as the base for imitation meats such as, duck, chicken and pork.

Coeliac disease

Coeliac disease is a chronic intestinal disease which is caused by the ingestion of rye, barley, wheat and its derivatives. Coeliac disease is not limited to one specific age group, but occurs among people of all ages. While the disease is mostly located in the intestines, it is not only a gastrointestinal disease. The disease can involve different organs and cause different kind of symptoms. For some people the disease is completely asymptomatic. This can cause difficulties when diagnosing the disease. Another issue that can cause difficulties for the diagnosis of the disease is the fact that many patients only have minor musical lesions without a severe infection of the villi located in the intestines. On average, coeliac disease appears among 1-2% of the population. However, the majority of cases remain undiagnosed and untreated. People who suffer from severe symptoms from the disease are subjected to malabsorption, iron deficiency, osteoporosis and are at increased risk of intestinal lymphomas. Also, some of the common symptoms include abdominal distention, loss of appetite and chronic diarrhea. The most common form of the disease is the form with non-classic symptoms. This occurs among all groups of society. This form of the disease is characterized by mild or absent gastrointestinal symptoms that can involve any organ of the body.

Gluten sensitivity

One of the milder forms of the coeliac disease is the non-celiac gluten sensitivity. This condition is described for patients who have symptoms which improve once they have switched to a gluten-free diet. This condition has been recognized as being among the gluten-related disorders since 2010. With a prevalence of 8 to 10 times higher than the coeliac disease, the non-celiac gluten sensitivity condition is considered to be the most common condition of gluten intolerance. Some of the symptoms of the condition include irritable bowel syndrome, headaches, chronic fatigue and allergies.

Wheat allergy

Besides coeliac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity, it is also possible for people to have a wheat allergy. This implies that people experience adverse effects when consuming wheat products. If someone has a wheat allergy it means that the body considers wheat to be a threatening foreign body and the body responds to its consumption abnormally. Different from coeliac disease, the body usually responds within a short time to the consumption of wheat and the immune response is often time limited and does not cause long-term harm to the body. The allergic reaction to wheat mostly appears within a few minutes to hours, while it could take a longer period of time to experience the symptoms when diagnosed with coeliac disease.

Good or bad?

While gluten are not necessarily bad for people, some people experience complications when consuming gluten. As mentioned above, some people are gluten intolerant and experience abnormal immune responses during digestion. In the case of gluten intolerance, doctors mostly recommend following a gluten-free diet. This implies that patients should avoid eating foods and ingredients that contain gluten. These foods include pasta, bread, salad dressing, soy sauce and others.


Article written by: SarahAjaoud
Times read: 2908x
Added: 06-04-2016 21:18
Last modified: 07-04-2016 09:03

Relevant links


There are already 331 articles added to this website.
The copyrights of infowiki.com apply!