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What is gluten? What is gliadin?

Traditionally, gluten is defined as a cohesive, elastic protein that is left behind after starch is washed away from a wheat flour dough. Only wheat is considered to have true gluten. Gluten is actually made up of many different proteins.

There are two main groups of proteins in gluten, called the gliadins and the glutenins. Upon digestion, the gluten proteins break down into smaller units, called peptides (also, polypeptides or peptide chains) that are made up of strings of amino acids--almost like beads on a string. The parent proteins have polypeptide chains that include hundreds of amino acids. One particular peptide has been shown to be harmful to celiac patients when instilled directly into the small intestine of several patients. This peptide includes 19 amino acids strung together in a specific sequence. Although the likelihood that this particular peptide is harmful is strong, other peptides may be harmful, as well, including some derived from the glutenin fraction.

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It is certain that there are polypeptide chains in rye and barley proteins that are similar to the ones found in wheat. Oat proteins have similar, but slightly different polypeptide chains and may or may not be harmful to celiac patients. There is scientific evidence supporting both possibilities.

When celiac patients talk about "gluten-free" or a "gluten-free diet," they are actually talking about food or a diet free of the harmful peptides from wheat, rye, barley, and (possibly) oats. This means eliminating virtually all foods made from these grains (e. g., food starch when it is prepared from wheat, and malt when it comes from barley) regardless of whether these foods contain gluten in the very strict sense. Thus, "gluten-free" has become shorthand for "foods that dont harm celiacs."

In recent years, especially among non-celiacs, the term gluten has been stretched to include corn proteins (corn gluten) and there is a glutinous rice, although in the latter case, glutinous refers to the stickiness of the rice rather than to its containing gluten. As far as we know, neither corn nor glutinous rice cause any harm to celiacs.

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17 Responses:

 
Rahul Khandelwal
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said this on
28 Nov 2007 11:49:46 PM PDT
Knowledge giving

 
abdelfattah
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said this on
20 May 2008 12:53:24 AM PDT
Good subject, I have learned many thing from this article.

 
cabase zannyper
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said this on
22 Sep 2008 3:00:50 AM PDT
I learned!

 
MARILYN BEAVERS
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said this on
08 Nov 2009 5:21:42 PM PDT
I FOUND THIS TO BE VERY INFORMATIVE

 
Colette
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said this on
05 Dec 2009 3:52:14 PM PDT
Thanks for this. I was tring to work out whether TicTacs were gluten free and the FAQ said something about corn gluten - which mystified me!

 
Vitamin D girl
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said this on
17 Jul 2010 1:31:13 PM PDT
Just what I was looking for! I was trying to figure out how gliadin relates to gluten.

 
Lynda Bradley
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said this on
21 Jul 2011 8:51:01 AM PDT
Explains what gliadin is that my client is allergic to.

 
jleo
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said this on
18 Feb 2012 2:01:53 PM PDT
Thanks, still being used 4+ years after the first comment.

 
elaine ester
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said this on
11 Jun 2012 8:45:57 PM PDT
I sent this information to 3 different states. Thank you and keep it coming. Now I need some gluten-free meal plans and recipes.

 
Mims Haske
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said this on
24 Jun 2012 11:01:28 AM PDT
Very informative. I'm looking for ways to increase my knowledge base while decreasing my waistline. This has been a helpful starting point. Plus I'll pass it on to a friend! :)

 
Lynn
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said this on
25 Mar 2013 3:28:09 PM PDT
Ok - I've read that fermenting flour into sourdough bread pre-digests the gluten in the flour and also breaks down toxins that are anti-nutrients. Not sure if this makes it any better for celiac/gluten sensitive people. I haven't read anything on it anywhere in relation to celiac/gluten sensitivity - whether fermenting makes it okay to eat or not.

 
Meshelle
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said this on
07 May 2013 12:15:57 PM PDT
Just happened on an article and video posted on one of the local news stations relating to the "Modern Wheat" featuring Dr. William Davis, a cardiologist who published a book about the world's most popular grain. He had mentioned gliadin that is found in today's version of wheat and how harmful it can be. Not to mention, the wheat of today is produced from a genetic 13" plant. I am a big health nut and big fan of wheat products. Just learned that because it says wheat, doesn't make it any better for me than products made with white flour. I am truly amazed and disappointed that we as consumers are being so deceived and health put at risk for the almighty dollar. Looks like I will be cleaning out my cabinets and pantry and throwing a lot of things out. Have a wonderful and healthy life everyone!

 
david
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said this on
11 Jun 2014 6:26:36 AM PDT
Book Wheat Belly is a game changer, as are these books: Grain Brain, Wahls Protocol, and The Big Fat Surprise. The de-monization of animal fats and cholesterol, and the promotion of "healthy" whole grains is killing America with an epidemic of diabetes and untold unforeseen consequences to health.

 
ken
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said this on
03 Jun 2013 7:46:16 AM PDT
In my opinion, you did not address the reason why people are allergic to wheat, for you see wheat as bound in nature is gluten and gliadin as a unit. through genetic modification these two elements have been separated and gliadin now becomes free glutamic acid, which is harmful to everybody. These two bound as a whole are essential nutrients, separated these two become harmful nutrients.

 
Larry
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said this on
27 Jul 2013 8:07:58 AM PDT
I have stopped eating any wheat products and have reduced my sugar intake as much as possible. My blood pressure has returned to normal (stopped taking BP meds) and my fasting blood sugar has returned to normal. No more bloating and abdominal pain. I feel great!

 
Alan
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said this on
03 Aug 2013 10:09:23 AM PDT
Very good, thanks.

 
Rhonda
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said this on
24 Jan 2014 8:58:43 AM PDT
Thanks so much. I was trying to figure out what gliadin is and where it fit into a gluten free diet.




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