Attended the natural foods show recently and one of the main themes of the show was gluten free products.
So I thought I'd do a little research. What I found is this. Gluten is a composite formed from several different proteins. It is found most commonly in wheat and other related grains, such as barley, semolina, and rye. Adding texture and a characteristic chewiness to baked goods, this ingredient is used in a wide variety of other foods as a thickener and binder, flavor enhancer, and protein supplement. Gluten, is often hidden under the name "dextrin" Dextrin is made by the hydrolysis of starch. This can be done with heat or by using acid. Dextrin is a low-cost and versatile "food glue" and thickening agent, appearing in many manufactured products. Gluten is also used in foods in some unexpected ways, in products like ice-cream and ketchup. Gluten can be found in soups and broths, as well as gravies and sauces, salad dressings, or marinades. Since it enhances flavor, it is used in bouillon, spice blends, and other foods such as coffees, dairy products, vinegars, and liquors. It can also be found in the substance used to seal envelopes since it acts as a stabilizer.
Generally, bread flours are high in gluten (hard wheat) and pastry flours have a lower gluten content. More refining of the added gluten leads to chewier products such as pizza and bagels. Wheat gluten, is often the basis for imitation meats resembling chicken, duck (mock duck), fish, pork and beef. When cooked in broth, gluten absorbs some of the surrounding liquid (including the taste) and becomes firm to the bite. Personally I have no allergies to wheat, however I have worked hard over the past year to eliminate wheat products from my diet and I'm sure I feel much better for it. Many of my personal training clients have also experienced similar results, by limiting their wheat intake. As I said in the beginning of the article the natural foods industry has taken up our cause and is attempting to produce a larger variety of gluten free foods. So sit tight, selection and variety help is on the way. Look for the gluten free sticker. Good Luck...
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