What is Gluten?

I was going to share this tomorrow but, after some quick research, it’s just too funny and interesting not to share it immediately!!

 

Jimmy Kimmel found out that lots of people know of ‘gluten free’ and elect to eat ‘gluten free’ but don’t actually know what it is or why it is that GF products are around… I have friends who are actually gluten intolerant, and others who use it as (what I believe is) a fad diet… here’s what Jimmy Kimmel found when asking people what it was:

 

 

So… it seems, not many people know what ‘Gluten’ is… most saying it’s ‘wheat’… gluten is in fact:

 

gluten   ˈgluːt(ə)n/
noun
  1. a mixture of two proteins present in cereal grains, especially wheat, which is responsible for the elastic texture of dough.

 

Further information on this advises:

Sub-clinical gluten intolerance is often confused with a medical condition called celiac disease, celiac sprue, or non-tropical sprue, sometimes referred to as gluten enteropathy or gluten intolerance. The reaction to gluten in celiac disease is similar to sub-clinical gluten intolerance, except as to the degree of intensity. Comparing sub-clinical gluten intolerance to celiac disease is like comparing first-degree sunburn from a day at the beach to a third degree burn from a fire victim. They are both burns, but vastly different based on the severity or degree of damage.

Celiac disease is not hidden, or sub-clinical, and as such it is easier to diagnose. A person with celiac disease may have blood in their stool or experience disabling pain when they consume gluten-containing foods. Other symptoms of celiac include steatarhea, which is undigested, and unabsorbed fat in the stool, and dermatitis herpetiformis, a skin condition. These obvious symptoms often lead doctors to recognize those with celiac in childhood when grains are first introduced in the diet. Others with celiac disease are not diagnosed until the adult years. In addition to the clinical presentation, celiac disease can be detected by a blood test and confirmed with a biopsy of the small intestine. The clear signs and symptoms of celiac disease make its identification relatively straightforward. Sub-clinical gluten intolerance, however, is difficult to diagnose based on symptoms alone.

Sub-clinical gluten intolerance refers to exposure to the gliadin molecule and to a specific inflammatory reaction taking place in the small intestine of afflicted individuals. In fact, gliadin intolerance would be a more scientifically accurate term than gluten intolerance to refer to this condition. Gliadin is a polypeptide, a long chain of amino acids, which is present in the gluten protein portion of certain grains.

This subject is confusing and there is much misinformation about gluten and gliadin. To clarify, gliadin, the molecule that causes the problem, is present in some, but not all gluten-containing foods. People with this problem must avoid glutens from the grains of wheat, rye, barley, kamut, spelt, teff and couscous. Some of these grains have lower concentrations of both gluten and gliadin than wheat does, but any food containing this specific gliadin, even from a lower concentration food source, is not well-tolerated by people with sub-clinical gluten intolerance.

This dietary restriction eliminates bread, pasta, bagels, and cereals. There are rice and almond-based breads available, usually found in the refrigerated section of your local health food store. There are also rice, yam, and corn-based noodles, and cereals, crackers and other gluten free substitutes on the market.

Rice, corn, oats, buckwheat, and millet have glutens, but the glutens in these foods do not contain the gliadin molecule that can provoke the inflammatory reaction; therefore, they are usually safe. Other safe grains include quinoa and amaranth. In some cases, people are allergic to rice, corn, oats, or millet, independent of the reaction to gluten/gliadin. 

 

Allergy vs Intolerance

There is a great deal of confusion and misinformation about food allergies and gluten. Gluten intolerance is not a typical food allergy. It is an inherited condition that leads to a mucotoxic, or inflammatory response. Gluten intolerance has a genetic basis, meaning it passes from generation to generation. 

It is important to note that many people who are gluten intolerant do not test positive on food allergy testing for wheat, rye, barley, and other gluten-containing grains. Do not be misled by the fact that you do not test positive to these gluten-containing foods. You still must avoid the offending gluten foods if you are gluten intolerant. Many people live for thirty or forty years with sub-clinical gluten intolerance and do not experience obvious symptoms. Some people who are constitutionally strong and eat small amounts of gluten-containing foods may never experience obvious symptoms. However, with or without obvious symptoms, intestinal damage is still taking place.

Along with gluten intolerance comes food cravings, and it has frequently been observed that people crave that which they are allergic to.

Please take note, if you crave gluten, there is a high probability that you are gluten sensitive.

So there you have it… what is gluten, gluten intolerance, celiac disease, gliadin all in one. Feel free to research further and share your findings/experience. 🙂
[c/o Wikipedia and http://kalishresearch.com/a_gluten.html]
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