Gluten & It’s Intolerance

In my few short years of working as home baker, one of the most frequently requested item has been gluten free bread. I run a bakery that specialises in additive free bread and so most people automatically assume that I would be able to provide them with healthy gluten free products. I find it most paradoxical when people use the phrases healthy food and gluten free in the same line. Bread without gluten is just not bread: there is no substitute.

Most people tend to associate gluten consumption with weight gain and so think cutting gluten out completely will make them healthier. Unfortunately going completely gluten free can have more harmful effects than good, especially if you aren’t really gluten intolerant. Gluten is a protein found in wheat which when activated gives wheat products it’s unique texture and flavor. The degree of gluten present in flour depends upon the quality and type of flour being used. When bread is produced on a large scale, the manufacturer may not always have accesses to same quality flour. Therefore most manufacturers tend to resort to adding emulsifiers or additives like gluten to the flour to ensure they always have a standardized product. These chemicals not only help in masking inconsistencies in raw ingredients but also increase the shelf life of the product.

A lot of our allergies can be co related to the preservatives and chemicals found in these packaged products. Due to this we often tend to think that the product itself is bad and should be done away with, like in this case gluten. Instead of blindly following food fads and diets, we should become more aware of what goes into our food and how it’s made. If you can’t identify more than 3 ingredients on a label, it’s probably not good for you. The shorter the shelf life of a product, the healthier it is. Proteins like gluten aren’t always the enemy; it’s the substitutes that are making you ill.

2 thoughts on “Gluten & It’s Intolerance

  1. AliciaEatsHerWay says:

    I’m curious what flours you use. I’ve read several articles that the wheat we eat today is not the same as the wheat we ate 100 years ago. It’s got a higher concentration of gluten protein and most of it is GMO with roundup resistance. Not to mention the glyphosate used at harvest. I, personally, get very ill when I eat wheat products or products with gluten. Since going gluten-free 8 years ago, I’ve noticed more health benefits than the obvious GI improvements. I get fewer colds, I have to go to the doctor less often, and my seasonal allergies are not as bad.
    I’ve heard that people with severe gluten intolerance in the Us and other western countries can actually eat wheat without symptoms in certain places (Tanzania, Zambia, Costa Rica, Croatia). The common thread in those places is that they don’t import GMO wheat.
    So, since it sounds like you think gluten is not the real culprit of the gluten intolerance, do you have a theory of what is really behind the growing epidemic? I’m generally curious because I’ve started suspecting it might be the chemicals in harvest or low quality wheat more than the gluten.

    Liked by 1 person

    • bonnefood says:

      I use locally sourced flour in Mumbai. India is one of the leading exporters of wheat in the world and so we fortunately have ready access to a variety of flours.
      I think the problem is two fold; firstly the quality of wheat has deteriorated severely over the last century. Thanks to genetically modified methods of cultivation the wheat today is indeed higher in gluten content (stronger) and less nutritionally dense. This is probably why gluten intolerance is a relatively new disease. Secondly there is the problem of chemicals and harmful pesticides. This not just restricted to wheat but all crops we consume. It causes a systematic down turn in our overall health and well being.
      Although we may lead in wheat exports, most of India’s farmers continue to be uneducated and unaware of advances in agricultural practises. They are heavily dependent on large MNCs to help them out with seeds and technical know-how. These companies usually push high gluten (usually high yield) seeds to increase revenues.
      There’s a lot we still need to learn and understand about gluten and so I think it would be premature of me to come to any one conclusion regarding the reason, however I do feel these are some of the reasons that might be accelerating the problem world wide.

      Liked by 1 person

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