Gluten is composed of two proteins, gliadin and glutenin and is found mainly in wheat, barley and rye, and any foods that are made with these grains.
By Rachel Rothman, M.S., R.D.
Q: What is Gluten?
A: We’re glad you asked! More people have begun to question, “What exactly is gluten?” especially since Jimmy Kimmel asked that question, and many individuals (including those who were following a gluten-free diet!) were unable to provide an answer. In case you missed our first post on gluten, we talk about the gluten-free diet and whether it is truly beneficial for weight loss.
So, what exactly is gluten? Gluten refers to the proteins found in wheat. It is composed of two proteins, gliadin and glutenin. Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting like glue and holding foods together. For example, it provides elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape. It also provides the chewy texture you might find in bread.
Gluten is found mainly in wheat, barley and rye, and any foods that are made with these grains. Some examples of foods that contain gluten are breads, baked goods, pasta, cereal, malt, beer and rye bread. Click here for additional sources of gluten. Gluten can also be added to many foods and sometimes functions as a flavoring agent, thickener, texture enhancer or a leavening agent. A gluten-free diet excludes all foods that contain gluten.
If gluten is a concern for you, some restaurants nationwide now offer gluten-free options and gluten-free menus. Learn more about finding restaurants with gluten-free menus here.