Biomedical Engineering Blog

Biomedical Engineering

The Biomedical Engineering blog is the place for conversation and discussion about topics related to engineering principles of the medical field. Here, you'll find everything from discussions about emerging medical technologies to advances in medical research. The blog's owner, Chelsey H, is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) with a degree in Biomedical Engineering.

Previous in Blog: A Gluten Story, Part 1   Next in Blog: No Food Beyond This Point
Close
Close
Close
7 comments

A Gluten Story, Part 2

Posted December 16, 2014 12:00 AM by Chelsey H

Gluten can be eaten by itself and has become a common substitute for meat and tofu. It is particularly popular in Asia, where is goes by the name seitan and is often steamed, fried, or baked.

An interesting twist to this story comes when we start looking at the amount of gluten added to industrially made bread. (To read part 1, please visit here. ) Most of the bread in the U.S. is made by replacing hydration, fermentation, and kneading with artificial additives and huge industrial mixers. Image Credit

In the nineteenth century steel rollers and industrial mills replaced stones in the wheat grinding process. Steel was fast, efficient, and easy to maintain. Millers discarded the germ and the bran in the wheat kernel, along with most of the vitamins, fiber, and most of its healthy fats.

Most bakers include an additive called vital wheat gluten, made by washing wheat flour with water until the starches dissolve, to strengthen the dough and help the load rise. According to the New Yorker, "In general, the higher the protein content of wheat, the more gluten it contains." Vital wheat gluten is a powdered, concentrated form of gluten that is found naturally in all bread. The extra gluten is added to provide the strength and elasticity necessary for it to endure industrial mixing. Image Credit

Chemically, vital wheat gluten is identical to regular gluten - but some worry it's a crutch to add storage and functionality to the final product. Even though it doesn't add flavor it's added to pastas, snacks, cereals, and even some cosmetics. According to scientists at The Bread Lab in Washington, it makes bread taste like mush.

The FDA defines bread as being made of flour, yeast, and a moistening ingredient, usually water. Bleached flour uses chemicals like acetone peroxide, chlorine, and benzoyl peroxide (still to be determined if bread will treat your breakout). Other possible ingredients include shortening, sweeteners, ground dehulled soybeans, coloring, and potassium bromate.

It's not possible to manufacture, package, and ship large amounts of industrially made whole-grain bread without adding something to strengthen the dough. Even "healthy" whole-wheat breads are packed with gluten under various ingredient names such as "whole-wheat flour, water, wheat gluten, and wheat fiber." Image Credit

There is a gluten-free movement happening in America. Sales of gluten-free products have doubled in the past five years and more than two hundred million dishes were ordered gluten free (also in the past 5 years?). While products started out only being sold in small boutique stores, they are now easily found in popular nation-wide chains. But the diet can be unhealthy, loaded with ingredients such as rice starch, cornstarch, tapioca starch, and potato starch. These contain highly refined carbohydrates and release at least as much sugar into the bloodstream as the foods given up. When it comes down to it, when the good things that sell food (salt, fat, and gluten) are removed more of another is added to keep it tasty. Gluten-free cake is still cake.

Although "gluten-free" is probably just another fad diet, large-scale, long-term testing should be done to look at the effect of added gluten in American diets but we won't have the answer for years. In the meantime, those who do have celiac disease have options, because who wants to go their whole life without pizza?

This blog is adapted from "Against The Grain"

Reply

Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.
Guru
Safety - Hazmat - New Member United States - US - Statue of Liberty - New Member Engineering Fields - Chemical Engineering - Old Hand

Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Lubbock, Texas
Posts: 14331
Good Answers: 161
#1

Re: A Gluten Story, Part 2

12/19/2014 12:45 PM

Actually pizza is the least of her worries. It is things like hot dog and hamburger buns she has to watch, with the worst being wheat gravy of any kind, or items made from white flour, or modified food starch (still contain considerable gluten). It only takes a tiny speck of raw flour to make her ill.

On the other hand, I suffer from my own ills. I have to watch my carbs. It is really fun deciding on a menu that fits the both of us.

__________________
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Just build a better one.
Reply
Power-User

Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 406
Good Answers: 3
#2

Re: A Gluten Story, Part 2

12/20/2014 11:20 AM

My daughter in law has a very severe case of celiac disease. She has to be very careful what is in her food. There seems to be a growing problem with this among the younger generation. Someone will eventually solve the problem(and probably make a ton of money in the process).

Reply
Guru
Safety - Hazmat - New Member United States - US - Statue of Liberty - New Member Engineering Fields - Chemical Engineering - Old Hand

Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Lubbock, Texas
Posts: 14331
Good Answers: 161
#3
In reply to #2

Re: A Gluten Story, Part 2

12/20/2014 1:10 PM

My wife's symptoms apparently got their start in her (1) high estrogen level combined with (2) taking more than recommended doses of acetaminophen. However, the makers of flour are doing things to it that were never done in the recent past (100-150 years ago). They are "bleaching" it. Sometimes they add sodium bromate to preserve the English Muffins from mold. At times, they are "fortifying" the wheat flour with extracted gluten, and maybe it is the extra added gluten that is revealing the "sensitivity". It could be that our guts are just not ready to evolve that quickly, and we should go back to a "whole food" left the way it comes, barely processed, or not processed at all...

__________________
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Just build a better one.
Reply
Power-User

Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 406
Good Answers: 3
#4
In reply to #3

Re: A Gluten Story, Part 2

12/20/2014 1:43 PM

My daughter in law has an extreme reaction to gluten. Unfortunately by the time she was diagnosed, her tolerance for gluten is nil. Any gluten getting into her system is tantamount to cyanide poisoning. Her family has learned more than most doctors know now.

Reply
Guru

Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 859
Good Answers: 33
#5
In reply to #3

Re: A Gluten Story, Part 2

12/20/2014 1:48 PM

Bread used to be made daily, wrapped with a linen towel, eaten fresh the first, toasted the next day, and fed to the animals on the third. You are right about the additives, as most people don't make their own bread, and buy from bakeries many miles, cities , or States away. The additives allow the bread "shelf time". If I want good fresh bread, I have to drive 20 miles, and eat it within two days, or I have a loaf akin to a hand grenade. We eat maybe two slices a day, so it doesn't make sense to start making it fresh, although at times, I am tempted!

Reply
Guru
Safety - Hazmat - New Member United States - US - Statue of Liberty - New Member Engineering Fields - Chemical Engineering - Old Hand

Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Lubbock, Texas
Posts: 14331
Good Answers: 161
#6
In reply to #5

Re: A Gluten Story, Part 2

12/22/2014 9:39 AM

My wife is tolerant of something called Ezekial bread. I choose a good whole wheat bread for my personal consumption. We freeze all of it, so that it is more or less fresh and certainly not moldy.

__________________
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Just build a better one.
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 859
Good Answers: 33
#7
In reply to #6

Re: A Gluten Story, Part 2

12/22/2014 2:11 PM

We have 2 loaves of exactly the same bread in our freezer, also. My wife is tolerant of it, and doesn't digest the whole wheats well. I am a bit more tolerant, but basically need just to reduce the carb intake, ala the Paleo Diets. I would eat more of the Ezekial bread except for it's "graininess". I get little pieces of grain stuck in-between my teeth, and it drives me nuts. Should chew better!!

Reply
Reply to Blog Entry 7 comments
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.
Copy to Clipboard

Users who posted comments:

C-Mac (2); James Stewart (3); Munster (2)

Previous in Blog: A Gluten Story, Part 1   Next in Blog: No Food Beyond This Point

Advertisement