What is Gluten?

Wheat flour is a key ingredient for bread, biscuits and cakes. Gluten is a protein found naturally in many grains such as wheat, barley and rye.

Gluten plays an important role in baking. When gluten protein is heated, it will form an elastic network. This structure can retain and stretch gas, so that foods such as bread and pasta can retain moisture and become soft. Gluten protein also has a binding effect, allowing the dough to maintain its shape, texture and elasticity. Therefore, gluten is often used as an additive to improve the texture and moistness of various processed foods. The use of flour with different gluten content can make full use of the unique physical properties of gluten. High-gluten flour can increase the smoky taste of noodles, and low-gluten flour is suitable for making soft foods, such as cakes and mooncake crusts.

Gluten-free diets are becoming increasingly popular, especially due to the growing awareness of celiac diseases, gluten allergies and sensitivity. According to the Centre of Food Safety in Hong Kong, gluten is one of the 8 substances that have been defined as causing 90% of food allergies. Estimated prevalence of non-coeliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) could be high as 13% of the population. Meanwhile, from the research of HK BioTek, gluten had been ranked as Top 3 of the common food sensitivity cases. For people with celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten, as gluten consumption may pose adverse reactions.

Fortunately, there are varieties of gluten-free products which can act as alternatives for gluten-containing products. There are more high-quality gluten-free foods and restaurants that can bring benefits to those on a gluten-free diet. Gluten-free diets become accessible and applicable. 

(Written by Ms Stephanie Koo, HK BioTek Nutritionist)

 

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甚麼是麩質?

相信很多愛吃烘焙產品的人都知道小麥麵粉是麵包、餅乾和蛋糕的重要原材料。麩質(又被稱為麵筋)是一種天然存在於某些穀物中(如小麥,大麥和黑麥)的蛋白質。

麩質在烘焙過程中有著重要角色。麵筋蛋白在加熱後,會形成一個彈性網絡,這種結構可以保留和拉伸氣體,從而使麵包、麵食等食品保持水分,並變得鬆軟。麩質蛋白亦具有粘合作用,讓麵團保持形狀、質地和富有彈性。因此,麩質經常用作添加劑,以改善各種加工食品的質地和濕潤程度。而運用不同麩質含量的麵粉,可充分利用麩質的獨特物理特性,高筋麵粉可增加麵條的煙韌口感、低筋麵粉適合製作鬆軟的食物,如蛋糕、月餅皮。

無麩質飲食正變得越來越流行,由於人們對乳糜瀉、麩質過敏和敏感性的認識不斷提高。根據食品安全中心的數據,麩質是已界定為可造成90%食物過敏反應的8種物質之一。數據指出,全球患有麩質敏感的人口可高達13%。同時,根據HK BioTek的研究,麩質被列為食物敏感中排名前三位。對於患有乳糜瀉的人不能忍受麩質,因為食用麩質可能會引起不良反應。

幸運的是,現今有多種無麩質產品可以替代含麩質產品。有更多優質的無麩質食品和餐廳,可為那些無麩質飲食的人帶來好處。無麩質飲食變得更容易和可行。

(文章由HK BioTek營養師古宣恆撰寫)

 

Reference:

HKBIoTek. (n.d.). Retrieved February 26, 2021, from http://www.hkbiotek.com/Resource_Centre

Centre for food safety. (2017, May 23). Retrieved February 26, 2021, from https://www.cfs.gov.hk/english/food_leg/food_leg_lgfa.html

What is gluten? Definition, foods, and side effects. (n.d.). Retrieved February 26, 2021, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-is-gluten

Gluten-Free food: Is gluten free good for you? (n.d.). Retrieved February 26, 2021, from https://www.foodunfolded.com/article/gluten-free-foods-are-they-actually-healthy?gclid=CjwKCAiAyc2BBhAaEiwA44-wW8MkgrKtydFFzE4UkyxTrkHd_RDDGaUKzYSL7GfsZexxfIj7V9I_tRoC3gIQAvD_BwE

Aziz I, Hadjivassiliou M, Sanders DS. The spectrum of noncoeliac gluten sensitivity. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2015 Epub ahead of print