I am going to be very honest with you. I had NEVER heard of the word gluten until Emma was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2000. Now it is a part of my everyday vocabulary.
Knowing what gluten is and being gluten free is extremely important. In the last few weeks I have heard Dr. Alessio Fasano of the Center for Celiac Research say this a few times, that being gluten free for a person with celiac disease is like insulin for diabetics. Clearly, people with celiac need to know what gluten is and what foods it is in.
But as we have heard many people are going gluten free because they think it may be healthier. Well last night’s Jimmy Kimmel Live episode asked self-proclaimed gluten-free eaters the question, “What is gluten?”. Watch it below.
What is Gluten?
According to Celiac Disease: A Hidden Epidemic, Dr. Peter Green describes gluten as “the storage protein of wheat. Essentially the portion of wheat flour that makes it sticky”. Gliadin and Glutenin are the two major fractions of gluten. According to Green’s book, gliadin is the most studied for celiac disease.
A more layman’s way of explaining it, gluten is the protein found in wheat, barley and rye (and some other derivatives). It causes an autoimmune response in people with celiac disease which affects an estimated 1 in 133 Americans*. Gluten is commonly found in breads, pizzas, cakes, cookies, in general any baked goods as well as beer, noodles, and cereals.
Even when the lady interviewed in this piece said gluten was in rice….that was incorrect. The protein, known as gluten is in wheat, barley, and rye.
During this Celiac Disease Awareness Month, I think this interview, while being considered satire and entertainment, was quite enlightening showing what some people know or don’t know about gluten.
What did you think?
*Source: Archives of Internal Medicine, 2003