What is gluten and what cereals and foods contain it?


Gluten is a generic term used to designate the protein of certain types of cereals , which can trigger celiac disease. There are a number of essential components that can cause the disease: glutenin and gliadin (wheat), avenin (oats), hordein (barley) and secalin (rye). But, as we will see throughout this note, they are not the only cereals that contain gluten.

Although it is true that over the past few years there are doubts and it is believed that most celiacs can eat it (as long as its labeling specifies that it has not come into contact with any other ingredient that can trigger celiac disease ).

The truth is that gluten plays an important role when it comes to making breads, biscuits and other related ingredients. And it is that, for example, it helps to increase its volume, it influences the formation of the particular -and exquisite- crust, it is useful so that they stay fresher for a longer period of time, and gives them shape.

In addition, it helps the dough to sponge, since when it comes into contact with the water during the production process it produces a specific polymer that forms an elastic wrapper, capable of retaining the gas responsible for the fermentation. It is the presence of "gluten binder".

What cereals contain gluten? And what foods?

We find gluten in certain cereals, but only in some species of them. However, we must take into account something fundamental: we will find gluten in all foods that contain this type of cereal , regardless of the type of food or its forms.

For example, we can especially mention the bread, biscuits and cakes, pies, pasta (even if it is integral) and in turn in certain types of wild rice. We can also find gluten in processed or ultra processed products, such as: croquettes, sausages, sausages, prepared with fresh cheese, eggs, bread crumbs, potatoes for frying and potato chips, potato flakes to make puree, sauces, mixtures of spices, chocolate…

And what are the cereals that have gluten? Basically wheat, hundred, barley, spelled, spelled, kamut, triticale, and farro. And wheat bulgur also contains gluten, as well as the wheat and barley couscous.

Foods with gluten

And what about oats?

As you can see, we have not included the oats between cereals that contain gluten. The main reason is that oats contain avenina , a type of protein very similar to glutenin present in traditional cereals, but which is not gluten itself.

Although it is true that at the time its use was discouraged by people with celiac disease, some recently published scientific studies (such as Safety of Adding Oats to a Gluten Free Diet for Patients With Celiac Disease , published in the specialized magazine 'Gastroenterology'), did not find negative variations in those people with celiac disease who, during 12 months, consumed oats, neither associated symptoms nor in the results carried out of the different serological tests.

Thus, he concluded that there was no scientific evidence on the incompatibility of consuming oats in the gluten-free diet, but it was necessary to maintain some caution in the presence of few scientific studies in this regard.

Therefore, as we already mentioned at some point, the key is cross contamination . That is, although it seems that at first the oats seem to be safe for people with celiac disease, it is very common for cross contamination to occur, since it is common to use the same fields, facilities and production factories for cereals with gluten as for oats, so they may contain traces.

The most appropriate, then, is choose only certified oatmeal , always choosing certified products that specify that the consumption of oats is totally safe for the celiac.


How does our body react to the presence of gluten?

When you suffer from gluten intolerance It means that, in our organism, there is an erroneous reaction on the part of our immune system, in the presence of gluten (that is, when it is consumed).

In our small intestine, specifically in the intestinal mucosa, there are millions of villi that offer the possibility that the intestine can absorb nutrients better. Thus, when a celiac consumes gluten, the villi of the intestine can be damaged, so that little by little they tend to be shortened.

As a result, food reaches our large intestine half-digested, causing severe diarrhea and gastric spasms, in addition to other symptoms usually related as: flatulence and gas, constipation, nausea, fatigue, physical decay, weight loss and depressive disorders .

That is to say, the small intestine progressively deteriorates , being able to cause with the step of the time a serious alimentary deficit, being very important the diagnosis for the inclusion of a diet without suitable gluten quickly.

Bibliographic references consulted:

  • Pinto-Sánchez MI, Causada-Calo N, Bercik P, Ford AC, Murray JA, Armstrong D, Semrad C, Kupfer SS, Alaedini A, Moayyedi P, Leffler DA, Verdú EF, Green P. Safety of Adding Oats to a Gluten-Free Diet for Patients With Celiac Disease: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Clinical and Observational Studies . Gastroenterology 2017 Aug; 153 (2): 395-409.e3. doi: 10.1053 / j.gastro.2017.04.009.
This article is published for informational purposes only. You can not and should not replace the consultation with a Nutritionist. We advise you to consult your trusted Nutritionist.

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