Gluten is a protein found in cereals such as wheat, rye and barley.
It is the gluten in flour that creates the dough structure when you bake bread.
The dough can contain bubbles of carbon dioxide that are formed during fermentation, so the bread becomes airy. Gluten also gives pasta its elasticity and chewing consistency.
Different kinds of flour contain different amounts of gluten depending on the type of grain and how it has grown. A small number of people suffer from Celiac Disease, or gluten intolerance, and it is important that they avoid gluten. The Swedish Celiac Disease Association’s website contains more information about the disease.
Fortunately, many gluten free products are available. Oats are naturally gluten free, for example. Lantmännen offers oats that are 100% gluten free which means you can be sure that other grains have been separated and have not come in contact with the packaging.
In Sweden, around 2–3 percent of the population suffers from Celiac Disease.
Unless you have experienced stomach trouble, there is no reason to eliminate gluten from your diet for health reasons.
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If you are gluten intolerant, there are various gluten free alternatives. Wholegrain products like oats are a good choice, for example. You will then increase your fibre intake, which is good for your digestive system.