Gluten - August 22, 2022 Episode

Updated: Oct 17

What is it?

Gluten refers to the proteins in cereal grains, such as wheat, barley and rye. Gluten is found in the endosperm (a type of tissue produced in seeds that are ground to make flour) and nourishes plant embryos during germination. Later on, gluten affects the elasticity of dough, acting as a glue to hold the food together, which in turn affects the chewiness of baked products.

Gluten is a mixture of hundreds of distinct proteins within the same family, although it is primarily made up of two different classes of proteins: gliadin, which gives bread the ability to rise during baking, and glutenin, which is responsible for dough's elasticity.

Where is it?

These proteins are found in some grains like WHEAT, RYE, BARLEY, SPELT and KAMUT

Other foods wheat berries, spelt, durum, emmer, semolina, farina, farro, graham, khorasan wheat, einkorn, and triticale

Not all grains contain gluten. Some examples of gluten-free grains are sorghum, millet, brown rice, buckwheat, wild rice, amaranth, quinoa, corn (polenta) and teff. Oats are also gluten-free, but can be contaminated during processing

Glutinous rice is “sticky” not glutenous. It is higher in a starch called amylopectin

However glutenous rice is found in these places:

Such rice has wheat vinegar and California roll “crab” is made with wheat

Instant rice mixes like pilafs and yellow rice

Cuban, saffron, risotto and paella all may have gluten

Buffet rice??????

How to avoid it…

Gluten free diet

Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity NCGS

What is it?

Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is a condition that occurs in individuals who are unable to tolerate gluten and experience symptoms similar to those associated with celiac disease. Diagnostic tests for celiac disease and food allergies are negative in such individuals. May also be referred to as “gluten sensitivity” upon second and further references.

It was thought that there was no immune response for years, however:

Uhde, et al., (2016). Intestinal cell damage and systemic immune activation in individuals reporting sensitivity to wheat in the absence of coeliac disease. BMJ Journals, 65(12), 1930-1937. doi:10.1136/gutjnl-2016-311964 (

It is NOT wheat allergy: An allergic reaction is when a body’s immune system attacks a foriegn substance. Allergies, including those to wheat, are associated with positive IgE assays. Diagnosis is made through skin prick tests, wheat-specific IgE blood testing and a food challenge. People who have gluten-related symptoms but test negative for a wheat allergy and do not test positive for celiac disease may have gluten sensitivity.

How is it diagnosed?

Often by history and absence of Celiac genetic markers

Common Symptoms of Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity:

Bloating or gas

Diarrhea or constipation



Brain fog

Joint pain



Abdominal pain


IgG and IgA food sensitivity testing may be positive in these individuals

IBA testing may also be positive

Stool immune markers are often abnormal

Who gets it?

Many people

Why do they get it?

Lots of reasons.

Changes in agriculture

Changes in diet

Decreased diversity



Pesticides and herbicides

What can be done about it?

Avoid gluten

Celiac Disease

What is it?

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that affects around 1 in 100 Americans. The disease is caused by gluten intolerance. Gliadin, a protein in wheat, causes the afflicted persons immune system to attack their own bowel tissue. This causes villous atrophy, or the erosion of the nutrient absorbing villi that line the small intestine. Other grains, such as barley and rye, have similarly shaped proteins that can cause the same reaction in sensitive individuals.

Celiac disease can cause irreversible damage. It is genetic in cause and can be passed down through generations.

How is it diagnosed?

Doctors diagnose celiac disease with history and examination, blood tests, biopsies of the small intestine, skin biopsies, and genetic tests.

Testing for celiac disease is done through blood tests and endoscopy. It is important for the afflicted person to continue eating gluten while they are being tested for celiac disease. When they remove gluten from their diet, their body starts to repair itself, giving a false negative for the tests.

Who gets it?

People with a genetic predisposition