You might want to know what is gluten doing in baked goods. Okay, gluten is the protein found in wheat and related grains such as rye and barley. Kneading dough made with wheat flour makes it pliable because it activates the gluten. Gluten is elastic, which contributes to chewiness of baked goods like bagels. To bakers, good gluten content is desirable because it stabilizes the resulting bread.
Well gluten has become something controversial. Gluten is linked to various medical conditions and can provoke symptoms in people with celiac disease. There are plenty of studies associating gluten consumption to allergies, problems in digestion and development of diseases.
Aside from baked goods made with flour, rye or barley. Breads are especially high in gluten, while pastries are the lowest. Foods with gluten include bread, pasta, pies, pizza, bagels, cakes and many more. Farina, semolina, einkorn and other flours also contain gluten. Gluten is also an ingredient in dumplings, spring rolls and grocery meatballs.
Gluten is also present in beer (uses barley), soy sauce, imitation meat, textured vegetable protein and malt and malt vinegar. Most breakfast cereals also contain gluten. Oats themselves do not have gluten, but it is often processed in mills that process wheat so they are often contaminated with gluten.
Because it improves texture, gluten is used as an additive in ice cream, ketchup and other processed food products including salad dressings and sauces.
Role of gluten in health
Let us discuss if gluten consumption has any benefit on health. Gluten is actually a protein, but it has no use for the body. There is no medical evidence showing the benefit of eating gluten. Gluten does not build muscles, strengthen bones, improve mental function or increase energy levels. This is something most people do not know.
So to say, gluten has nothing to do to improve your health.
Gluten and disease
This is what is gluten known for, which is its role in disease. There is significant evidence that gluten is actually harmful to the health, and does so in several ways.
Gluten is very popularly known for causing gastrointestinal distress. Your gut absolutely hates gluten, and yet we still continue to dump it in our bodies. Gut inflammation is a consequence of gluten consumption, and it causes diarrhea, Inflammation is bad because it opens up the gut allowing gluten to be absorbed in the bloodstream, which leads to another bad thing.
Our body cannot tolerate gluten, and when its introduced in the bloodstream, all sort of bad things start to happen. Inflammation levels shot up as the body tries to ‘kill’ gluten by forming antibodies. Of course, this is unsuccessful and results to immune system problems that leave us vulnerable to infection. Gluten causes the body to become over-vigilant, causing chronic fatigue and clouded thinking. Prolonged inflammation promotes development of lifestyle disease such as hardening of the arteries, diabetes and arthritis and many more.
Gluten is a known allergen. Unlike other allergens, our bodies cannot simply tolerate any amount of it. Eating gluten causes prolonged allergic symptoms that are often mistaken for other allergic conditions.
Ready to stay away from gluten?
Now that you understand the role of gluten in your health, you can now better make a good decision whether you want to eat more of it and feel sick, or embrace gluten-free lifestyle and feel healthier.
Baked goods like birthday cakes are a part of life and many of us just cannot simply live without it. The good news is there are stores like GF Bakery that only produce gluten-free goods including cakes, birthday cakes and party-sized cakes.