Gluten – gluten-free diet
Gluten is a mixture of plant proteins (gliadin and glutein) which are found in cereal grains, such as primarily: wheat, oat, barley, rye. Gluten has a small nutritional value, however it has other properties rarely encountered in other proteins, specifically – high elasticity, viscosity and resilience. These features are used in the bakery industry. This protein makes bread plump and gives it a crunchy crust and soft interior.
Gluten is the most frequently occurring food allergen, it is a composite, polymorphic protein with a low nutritional value – consisting of:
- 75-86% protein (gliadin and glutein)
- 10% polysaccharides
- 8% lipids
- 2% minerals
Gluten proteins are easily digested by most of us. Gluten itself is not toxic, but causes reactions in our body, which lead to the activation of the immune system and, in consequence, to damaging the small intestine’s villus. An improper reaction caused by gluten leads to a decreased production of digestive enzymes. Damage to the intestinal villus causes disruptions of the intestinal passage and proper absorption of substances contained in food. The unfavorable effects of gluten on the human body may manifest itself in the form of coeliac disease, intolerance or sensitivity to gluten. In the case of allergies, the ailments may be temporary and pass over time, however coeliac disease, unfortunately, lasts an entire life. The treatment of both illnesses boils down to eliminating gluten from one’s diet.
A gluten free diet involves complete elimination of products containing gluten from your nutrition and exclusion of products with the addition of natural or processed cereals: wheat, oat, barley and rye.
This diet often lists oat, considered as one of the forbidden cereals. Numerous scientific studies, however, show that most people tolerate oat and its products well. The issue is the acquisition of pure oat. In Poland, due to the contamination of oat with grains of other cereals (coincidence seeding in the field, contamination during processing), oat products must be strictly eliminated from the diet. Certain countries, such as Finland, produce pure, certified, gluten free oat which is allowed to be consumed in Poland in small amounts (it is available on the Polish market in Schär brand products).
A very important part of the nutrition market consists of dietary, gluten free products, intended to support maintaining the body in good condition, as well as preventing and treating ailments. To achieve better flavor and aroma qualities, the production of food for people on gluten free diets requires the use of other formula components and modifications to technological processes.
Unfortunately, a significant percentage of people are not aware that they suffer from gluten intolerance. For individuals with such intolerance food containing gluten causes an allergic reaction which leads to intestinal inflammation and degradation of the intestinal mucosa.
Coeliac disease, or gluten intolerance, may manifest not only through gastric ailments, but also: irritability, anemia, susceptibility to bleeding, bone and joint pains, tingling sensations in the feet, skin inflammations and swelling, menstruation disruption, and even impotence. Many people who transition to a gluten free diet notices an improvement in overall wellbeing, health and appearance.
In recent years a gluten free diet has become immensely popular also among healthy individuals, especially celebrities and athletes.
Where can gluten be found?
- in flour based products – baked goods, pasta, cakes
- in smoked meats, packaged meat, minced meat and other meat products
- in dairy products: yoghurts, cheeses and cream (where it should not even appear at all)
- in sweets: chocolates, candies, lollypops
- in sauces, ketchups and mayonnaise
- in spices
- in food concentrates
Individuals on a gluten free diet, prior to making their purchase decisions, should thoroughly read product labels, which can in the contents feature wheat in various forms. Fortunately, currently there are many replacement products available on the market which do not contain gluten. Such products are labeled with a crossed ear of cereal, indicating safe, gluten free food. This symbol is a trademark registered in Poland and within the European Union and its use without a license is prohibited.
In accordance with European Union regulations, since the 1st of January 2012 the term “gluten free product” is allowed on labels and in product advertisements, if the gluten content does not exceed 20 mg/kg in food sold to the end consumer.
If the label does not list raw products containing gluten, there is no warning of trace amounts of gluten, nor information that gluten is used in the production facility, it could be assumed that a given product is safe for individuals with coeliac disease, gluten intolerance or sensitivity. In practice the situation may vary. The Polish Coeliac and Gluten Free Diet Society regularly studies various food products in terms of gluten content – this applies to products labeled as gluten free, as well as “regular” products, which should by their nature by gluten free, and those which feature no information regarding gluten free ingredients on their packaging.
Products allowed when on a gluten free diet:
- rice, rice flour, flakes, rice grits, rice bread
- potato flour
- potato starch
- corn flour, corn flakes and crisps
- soy, tapioca, sorgo
- millet groats
- homogenous spices
- wine vinegar
- gluten free pasta and gluten free bread (gluten free wheat starch)
- gluten free biscuits (certain sweets can contain gluten free wheat starch)
- chocolates without filling, provided they are not contaminated with gluten
- milk, milk products, provided they do not contain gluten
- fruits and vegetables
- unprocessed meat and fish, offal
- fats: plant butter, margarines, oils, olive oil, fish oil
- natural coffee
- tea, provided it does not contain gluten and is not aromatized
- natural cocoa
- spices, provided they do not contain gluten
- all products described with the Polish language phrase ”produkt bezglutenowy” or English phrase “gluten free”, or marked with the crossed out ear of cereal symbol.
The Kuchnie Świata delicatessen offer a wire range of licensed, gluten free products by international market-leading producers Schär and Incola, which includees:
- various types of baked goods (including frozen) – classic, multi-grain, rural, wholemeal, dark, on sourdough, crispy, rice bread, corn-rice bread, rice-chestnut bread, sweet (brioche), classic buns, hamburger buns, Kaiser rolls, baguettes, croissants, pizza bottoms, ciabattas;
- pasta – spaghetti, penne, Lasagna, gnocchi, tagliatelle, capellini, fusilli, anellini;
- flour – buckwheat, millet, rice, coconut, chestnut, chickpea, amaranth flour;
- frozen seasoned meals – various types of pizza, spaghetti Bolognese, lasagna, chicken fingers, fish fingers, tortellini, dumplings, frozen French puff pastry;
- sweets – classic cakes, coffee, lemon, frozen cakes, cream filled cakes, croissants, muffins with filling, biscuits with jelly, tea cookies, gingerbread, waffles, layer cakes, chocolate covered breadsticks, chocolate bars, cereal bars, ice-cream cones;
- salty snacks – crackers, pretzels, breadsticks, rusks;
- breakfast cereals – corn, rice, corn-rice, buckwheat, millet, Muesli with strawberries, Muesli with raspberries, natural and cocoa crisps.
Schär is Europe’s leading producer of gluten free food with the most well rounded offer on the gluten free market, distinguishing itself with its advanced production process, rigorous quality requirements and safety standards. The Schär brand is associated with high quality, safety and good taste.