Gluten is very controversial these days. Recently we are seeing more products with that are “certified” gluten-free logo on it. There is even a Gluten Intolerance Group that certifies products that claim to be gluten-free. Most health care providers claim that it is safe for everyone except those who have celiac disease. Some health experts believe that gluten is harmful for most people. According to a recent survey, more than 30% of Americans actively try to avoid eating gluten. So, what is gluten?
Gluten is a family of proteins found in grains like wheat, rye, spelt and barley. When flour is mixed with water, the gluten proteins form a sticky network that has a glue-like consistency. This glue-like property makes the dough elastic, and gives bread the ability to rise when baked. It also provides a chewy, satisfying texture.
For the vast majority of people, avoiding gluten is unnecessary. However, for people with certain health conditions, removing gluten from the diet can make a huge difference. Furthermore, the diet is usually harmless to try. There is no nutrient in gluten grains that you can’t get from other foods. Just make sure to choose healthy foods. A gluten-free label does not automatically mean that food is healthy. Gluten-free junk food is still junk food.