Gluten – Beyond the Obvious

by dr Uzelac

Why again avoiding this gluten?  What is all the fuss about?

Well, besides the obvious reason like - having celiac disease, the more subtle health issues can rise that may lead to bigger problems later on. Knowing and understanding more about the wheat and gluten will help you make up your own mind if gluten may be something for you or not. Of course, the best way to know is to check yourself for gluten sensitivity.

More, find out about toxic herbicides that are sprayed on wheat, and what their influence on our health is. Learn about processed wheat, maybe that will inspire you to make your own bread. Which leads to the last chapter - get some cool baking tips how to decrease the gluten content in your bread.

At the end of this post, I will leave a list of product that contain hidden gluten (more useful for celiac patients), so if you are determined to  strictly avoid  it,  you may find it interesting.

 

Lets talk about the WHEAT. It is the third largest crop in the world after rice and corn mainly because it can withstand severe climates. Its earliest known existence is found to be about 9,000 years ago. Wheat is used mainly as a human food because and can be stored for years in kernel form, it is easily transported , and processed into a wide variety of foods. The per capita consumption of wheat in the United States exceeds any other single food.
It is high in carbohydrates and is still believed by many to be nutritious, with valuable proteins, minerals, and vitamins.

 

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Wheat is a major ingredient in breads, rolls, crackers, cookies, biscuits, cakes, donuts, muffins, pancakes, waffles, noodles, pie crusts, pasta, ice cream cones, pizza, and cereals. Wheat flour, germ, bran, and malt are also added to packaged foods, baby food, soups, gravies, and sauces as a fillers, binders, and thickeners.

Although grain has been consumed for thousands of years, stored in kernel form and ground fresh, modern wheat is making people sick. Spelt, Kamut, Einkorn, and a few other related grains which are the result of ancient natural crossings also contain gluten, but do not have adverse affects on many who believe they are gluten sensitive. So what is different about wheat today that did not exist in ancient wheat? Well...Just about everything!

 

 

Bread

1) Modern milling

is fast and efficient and has control over how the kernel is separated. It allows for a barren in flour to be made that lasts indefinitely, can be shipped over long distances through the seemingly endless distribution chain, and provides food for the masses. However, it eliminates the richest source of nutrients: proteins, vitamins, lipids, and minerals found in the bran, germ, shorts (fine bran particles, germ and a small portion of floury endosperm particles) Here are some of the nutrients that are lost by modern processing:

Thiamine (B1) 77%, Riboflavin (B2) 80%, Niacin 81%, Pyridoxine (B6) 72%, Pantothenic acid 50%, Vitamin E 86%, Calcium 60%, Phosphorous 71%, Magnesium 84%, Potassium 77%, Sodium 78%,  Iron 76%, Zinc 78%, Copper 68%, Selenium 16%...

2) Farming and genetic alteration

Many changes have happened in modern farming: hybridized seeds arrived, synthetic fertilizers were developed, chemical pesticides began to see regular use. Now we have new wheat species that are "weather resistant" and insect resistant, however, the quality has drastically gone down. So now, this modern processed wheat only still looks like wheat but acts as an addictive drug (amylopectin A is one of its worse ingredients) which increases your appetite and also causes inflammation, diabetes, obesity and cancer. 

3) Chemicals

And more chemicals.  All for betterment of  food supply.  There are so many and I will name just a few:

Organophosphates: A study published in the journal Pediatrics showed that legally permissible amounts of organophospates have extraordinary effects on brain chemistry. The findings concluded that children with above-average pesticide exposures are 2x more likely to have ADHD,  indicating the build-up of acetycholine in the nerves that causes over-activity.

Malathion: interferes with the normal function of the nervous system.

 

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Glyphosate: this one is a biggie. Better known as herbicide in Roundup. When you expose wheat to glyphosate, it actually releases more seeds resulting in a slightly greater yield. According to the US Department of Agriculture, as of 2012, 99% of durum wheat ( compared to 88% in 1998), 97% of spring wheat (from 91%), and 61% of winter wheat (from 47%) has been treated with herbicides.

What does it do to us? Roundup significantly disrupts the functioning of beneficial bacteria (micro biome) in the gut and contributes to permeability of the intestinal wall and consequent expression of autoimmune disease symptoms, allergies, eczema, and more.

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The consequences of this systemic inflammation are most of the diseases and conditions associated with the western lifestyle: gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's etc..

Pyrethrins: are neurotoxic in humans.

 

But....not all the grains irritate the same!

Spelt, kamut and other related ancient grains contain gluten, but some people who claim to be gluten sensitive can eat them without having digestive problems. Why? It is not the gluten alone; it is a combination of all the things done to modern wheat and other industrialized grains.

The amount of gluten in modern wheat has been dramatically increased by biological manipulation and is now about 80% of its total protein content.

The food industry, never one to miss a good opportunity, is responding with gluten free foods, staying true to the nature of industrialized foods, most of it is junk.

Tips for the Bread Chefs

If you make your own bread, there are ways to decrease your gluten content without using gluten free flour. Let me first start by explaining that gluten forms only when you mix flour with water.

Wheat flour contains 2 proteins: gliadin and glutenin and until they are not tied together (which happens only when you add water to your flour) gluten will not exist. As bread dough is kneaded, these proteins line up and strands of gluten form to create a matrix within the bread dough. This matrix creates strength and structure, which traps gases and allows the dough to rise.

 

 

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So....... you will get less gluten if you:

Knead your dough less (although your yeast dough will be fluffier and therefore yummier when you spend time kneading), and add less water. Fats weaken gluten (this is your butter, oil, egg yolks) by coating gluten proteins and preventing them to from form long, strong strands. Also they make flour water resistant, and now we know: less water, less gluten! Sugar molecules attach to water molecules before they can bind with glutenin and gliadin so again, no water means no gluten. Salt, on the other hand, makes gluten stickier and stronger.

Flour matters as well: Whole-wheat flour is very high in gluten-forming protein, while sprouted wheat, even though still containing gluten, is much more digestible and nutritious. By the way, there is no protein component (and thereby no gluten) in wheat grass if it is less than 10 days old. 

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And at the end, here is the list of the products that may have hidden gluten. There are some more out there, but this is already very detailed, so you will get an idea - and that is-  always read the ingredients, especially the ones written in tiny letters . 

 

 List of Hidden Gluten Products

 

Alcohol

Beer is not gluten-free unless labeled so. However, there are many other types of alcohol that may be distilled from wheat, rye or barley that may contain gluten. It is believed that the distillation process removes all the gluten but I say you can never be too careful.

Candy

Many candies and treats do contain gluten and may honestly never be known unless you research it.

Chips

Chips are an easy contender for hidden gluten. Some brands actually add seasoning or additives to their chips that contain gluten. Always read labels to be sure.

Chocolate and Truffles

Many people don't suspect chocolate or truffles to contain gluten but a lot of them actually do! Truffles often contain malt flavoring added to them as well as barley in some cases. Pure chocolate is usually ok but some brands can have cross contamination issues as well.

Coffee

Some coffee brands add flavoring and additives which may contain gluten. But the biggest problem seems to be cross contamination with the distribution of the coffee beans and the brewing of the coffee in restaurants as well.

Ice-Cream

Flavors with chunks of cookies or treats in them are obvious to spot out. But some generic brands may add gluten and other additives as well.

Lotions and shampoos

It's very important to check the ingredients of all your lotion and shampoo products. This is one I don't think many people consider reading the label on and I think is one that people should be made more aware of. Also if you have a dairy allergy, checking for milk ingredients in these is critical too.

Make up

Just because a make up may be labeled as natural doesn't mean it is always gluten-free. Some people may get bad skin reactions due to the makeup you may be using.

Medication

It can be very hard to figure out whether a medication is gluten-free or not but it should be something you should check too.

Pet food and treats

If your pet is eating food that contains gluten you could be actually cross contaminating yourself without knowing it.

Processed meats

Deli meats and the meats you get over the counter are almost always free of gluten. However the packaged pre-cut meats you find in the store have many additives and fillers that can very easily contain gluten.

Sauteed meats

Some restaurants actually douse their meat in egg, milk, or flour before they cook it. It may be hard to know this unless you ask so always be careful with meats you order and never assume they are guaranteed gluten-free.

Seasonings
This can range from taco seasoning you buy in packets to seasoning that restaurants put on their meats.

Soy Sauce

This is a big one as almost all soy sauces are derived from wheat. It is very important when dining out that you know about the sauce you are eating.

Sports Drinks

Gatorade, powerade, and many others are all listed to be gluten-free according to their site. However, many people with celiac claim they have many issues with these. So what's wrong with them? It may have to do with the high amount of concentrated high fructose corn syrup or the sugars being used in them.