Featured Media Resource: VIDEO: What the Heck Is Gluten? (AsapSCIENCE)
Learn about gluten and its effects on people with celiac disease.
Do Now U
Do you think a gluten-free diet is beneficial to health, even without celiac disease or a sensitivity to gluten? #DoNowUGluten
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Learn More about Gluten
Do you make a point of eating gluten-free foods? According to the Institute of Food Technologists, "gluten is a protein that naturally occurs in a number of grains such as wheat, triticale, barley, rye and oats." Gluten is actually a large protein formed from two smaller proteins, glutenin and gliadin. Gluten is formed when the two smaller proteins are hydrated and join together to form a new protein. It is responsible for giving bread its chewy texture and can be found in a wide variety of foods including everything from salad dressing to beer.
For some people, going gluten-free is an absolute necessity. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that affects the body's ability to process gluten; the body mounts an immune response that attacks and damages the small intestine, preventing it from absorbing nutrients. About 1 percent of the U.S. population has celiac disease. Some people who do not test positive for celiac disease still experience gluten sensitivity. While not an autoimmune disorder, people with gluten sensitivity may have gastrointestinal symptoms similar to those with celiac disease.