Gluten is a protein found predominantly in wheat, rye and barley. It may also be present in other cereals, either as a natural component or as a result of cross-contamination during harvesting. Therefore, anyone with a gluten-intolerance might be wise to check that any other cereal they purchase is in fact gluten-free.
Gluten’s main culinary use is to give strength and elasticity to food products and it’s commonly found in wheat-flour-based products such as bread, pasta, pastry, and bakery items. It can also be found in many processed foods, eg ready meals, sausages, sauces and soups.
Because we eat more processed foods these days, this has resulted in us eating significantly more gluten. Thus there is a greater chance that those with an intolerance to the protein will experience some of the painful digestive symptoms associated with this intolerance. But gluten intolerance should not be confused with coeliac disease, which is a life-long auto-immune condition.
Nowadays products which are gluten-free are readily available in supermarkets and other stores.