Gluten is a protein that is part of some cereals: wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt, triticale, kamut, emmer wheat and bulgur (a cereal food made of different wheat spices).
To make a more scientific approach, gluten is a glycoprotein, a composite of gliadin and glutenin that, during the digestion process, breaks into the amino acids (proline and glutamine) that trigger the intestinal damage in celiac people.
It works effectively as a structural element, binding water molecules and therefore allowing food producers achieve better textures in their products… being especially appreciated among confectioners, bakers and other food manufacturers. As good emulsifier, provides elasticity to the dough avoiding it crumble, and giving it a fluffy and crisp texture because keeps its structure, helping the rise of the dough and reducing the deflating when cooling, after baking it.
But gluten is not only appreciated by bakers… the reason of finding it into so many products that shouldn’t contain it is because, beyond of its structural benefits for the products, it is a low cost ingredient. It has many applications in the food industry as “glue” to fix breadcrumbs, additives, condiments, vitamins and minerals on products; to increase the protein value of some foods; as meat substitute on vegetarian diets; used to give higher consistency to processed meat and cold cuts; and many other unimaginable applications.
Beyond the food industry, it is also used in other industries like, for example, cosmetics.
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