Gluten is a two-part protein found in specific grains including wheat, barley and rye among other grains. The two parts that make up the protein are gliadin and glutenin. Although used in different areas, it is in the making of bread products that the protein is mostly used. Formation of the protein in the course of making bread products occurs when glutenin molecules form sub-microscopic network that attach to gliadin, a process that enhances both the thickness and extensibility of bread. The protein is one of the major factors that cause bread to stale since it binds water through hydration.

There are several reasons why you may need to avoid the protein at all costs even if that means not eating bread and bread products or try to eat gluten-free products.

Risk of Developing Celiac Disease

gluten

Image credit: Kevin Lallier

Mixing flour containing gluten with water leads to formation of a sticky network that gives bread its elasticity, allowing bread to rise during baking. When you eat bread and the protein reaches your digestive system, your body’s immune system mistakes it to be a foreign matter and attacks it. This is in case you are a celiac. In doing so however, your body’s immune system also attacks transglutaminase, a tissue enzyme found in your digestive tract. An attack on the enzyme is an attack on your intestinal wall. Degeneration of your intestinal wall because of such attack leads to nutrient deficiency in your body, causing myriad health problems including anemia and general body fatigue among others.

Gliadin Sensitivity

Of the two parts that form the protein, it is the gliadin part that causes health problems. Gliadin sensitivity is simply intolerance to the protein. You can develop intolerance to the protein even if you are not a celiac. Such intolerance causes such symptoms as stomach pain, bloating, diarrhea and joint pain among other symptoms.

Risk of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Apart from celiac disease and gliadin sensitivity, gluten also causes serious side effects. Because it impairs the normal functioning of the intestines, it allows other unwanted substances to get into your bloodstream, leading to various digestive disorders including Irritable Bowel Syndrome, a disorder that can be very difficult to manage.

Risk of Brain Disorders

Although the protein’s action is within your digestive system, its effects can also extend to your brain. It has actually been established that the protein can cause neurological illness. In people already diagnosed as having neurological illness including cerebellar ataxia Schizophrenia, autism and epilepsy, the protein worsens the same.

Addiction

Gliadin that is one of the parts that form the protein is believed to be highly addictive. It is indeed the gliadin part that causes many people to develop craving for bread and such other bread products as donuts.

Although it has been established that protein only causes health problems in a few people, it is highly recommended that you avoid it at all costs to minimize risks of developing the kind of health conditions it is associated with. Resorting to a gluten-free diet may actually be the best way of avoiding such common ailments as joint pain and stomach pain among others.