What is gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. It is also present in oats due to harvesting and packaging processes, so in Australia especially there aren’t many options for gluten-free oats…yet.

Gluten-containing grains contain the below specific gluten proteins

  • Wheat contains gliadin
  • Barley contains hordein
  • Rye contains secalin

Oats contain avenin which has a similar molecular structure to gluten proteins. In Australia, it is still thought that 1 in 5 people with Coeliac Disease will have an adverse reaction to oats because of the similarities avenin has to gluten proteins. You can find more information about oats at our ‘are oats gluten-free’ post.

The good

Modern baking has come a long way since coeliac disease started becoming more common. Plus the rise in the popularity of the gluten-free diet has also seen a boom in the gluten-free industry. There are so many gluten-free recipes, products, and options when dining out that eating gluten-free isn’t as difficult as you might have imagined.

The bad

Gluten gives elasticity to dough, batter, and mixes, helping recipes rise, keep their shape and maintain a delicious texture. Without it, we need to find good gluten-free flour blends, discover xanthan and guar gums and become better acquainted with baking powder and bicarb soda. It is a different way of baking but it can be even more delicious!

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye

The ugly truth

Many foods that contain gluten aren’t healthy for us. Excesses of bread, pasta, and cake aren’t the foods we were intended to eat. Of course, allow yourself treats but if you have just been diagnosed with coeliac disease or think to go gluten-free can enhance your health, look at how you can improve your whole lifestyle to aid your recovery. Fresh foods, exercise and plenty of fun!