If you are trying to live a gluten free lifestyle or have been diagnosed with a gluten intolerance or celiac disease, it is important to understand what gluten is and what you need to avoid. Gluten is a protein composed of gliadin and glutelin found in wheat and the related grains barley and rye, and is found in all varieties of wheat including durum, emmer, einkorn, and spelt. These other names are important to remember when reading a label because they may not be listed plainly as wheat.
Gluten gives dough it’s elasticity, traps the carbon dioxide created by yeast to make bread rise, and gives the final baked product that nice chewy texture.
What Foods Contain Gluten?
Gluten is found in wide variety of foods including some that you might expect, like bread or beer, but it is also used in imitation meat including seitan or textured vegetable protein, and as a stabilizer in other products like ketchup or ice cream.
These secondary uses for gluten, especially as stabilizers, are some of the hidden sources of gluten in food. Read all food labels every time. If you eat something and your symptoms return, look at what you ate over the last several days that was different so you can locate what may have made you sick.
What about Corn and Rice “gluten”?
Corn (maize) and rice both include proteins that are sometimes called gluten, but this is not the same as the gluten found in wheat, barley, or rye. For people with a gluten intolerance or celiac disease, corn (maize) and rice are perfectly safe to eat in all forms, though reading the label is still important to look for potential sources of gluten.
If you would like to learn more about celiac disease and gluten free foods, please read this introduction: What is Celiac Disease?