What is gluten?
Gluten is a complex of proteins (gliadin and glutenin), which are found naturally in wheat, rye and barley.
The chemistry of gluten
Gliadin and glutenin are the basic structure ingredients of gluten:
Gliadin + Glutenin = Gluten
Once they both interact with water, they form the gluten mesh, which is responsible for the elasticity, stability and for the baking capacity of all the above cereal flours.
Gluten free Diet
Gluten has always been a common ingredient in the daily human diet and is considered as an important source of protein for most people. However, it can cause celiac disease in people who are genetically predisposed.
Is it gluten intolerance, Sensitivity or Allergy?
Celiac disease is a genetic, autoimmune disorder that occurs in people who are genetically predisposed, once they consume gluten. It is estimated that 1% of the population worldwide is affected from celiac disease. By now, adherence to a gluten-free diet is the only treatment for people that suffer from celiac disease.
Gluten sensitivity is not clearly specified. It is considered to be a different state than celiac disease. The first symptoms can be shown up 48 hours after consuming gluten, while some studies estimate that gluten sensitivity may affect 2 to 6% of the population. Lifelong adherence to a gluten-free diet is the only treatment for gluten sensitivity.
Wheat allergy is an autoimmune reaction to any wheat protein, not necessarily to gluten. Wheat is the one out of eight most common foods that cause allergies. Non-consumption of gluten is the only treatment in this case. (2)
Do I have celiac disease?
In adults, the most common symptom of celiac disease is iron deficiency anemia that does not respond to iron therapy. Symptoms do not necessary have to do with the gastrointestinal system.
Children usually show up symptoms such as non-physical development, chronic diarrhea / constipation, persistent bloating and abdominal pain, fatigue, irritability. (3)