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What makes a good gluten free breakfast

Updated on July 31, 2012


Everyone has heard of a gluten free diet or gluten free bread. Some people can not tolerate gluten, but what actually are gluten and what foods are they in?

How can people with a gluten allergy still eat a good breakfast?

What are gluten

Gluten ensure that dough is gummy and elastic. The protein chains are long, which make the rising of bread possible.

When making dough, you use flour and water. In flour, small glutenin and gliadin proteins are present, which when they come into contact with water, form long chains.

These long, compound gluten molecules are spiral-shaped and contain coils, which make the dough elastic. This type of dough is the basic for pasta, bread, cakes, biscuits and pizza bottoms.

Figure 1. Damaged intestinal villi!
Figure 1. Damaged intestinal villi!

What is a gluten allergy

By people who are suffering from gluten allergy, antibodies against gliadin proteins in wheat, barley, rye and oats are made. Normally, antibodies attack foreign invaders, but in this case an innocent protein is attacked. In the case of gluten allergy, not even the protein itself is attacked, but the intestinal cells which absorb the protein. If multiple intestinal cells are broken down, nutrients can no longer be absorbed and ultimately there will be a deficiency. In figure 1 it could be seen that the intestinal villi, consisting of intestinal cells break down, and that many lymphocytes (specialized white blood cells) are present in the intestinal villi.

The only thing people with gluten allergy can do is avoid gluten. There are a number of cereals that do not contain gliadin proteins, which can therefore be eaten by patients. Examples of these are corn, rice, amaranth, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, sorghum and teff (see figure 2).

What gluten free grains do we know?

Most people know about maize and rice, but what about other grains?

Starting with the pseudo-cereals

Amaranth, buckwheat and quinoa are no members of the grass family and are therefore no grains. Seeds of these plants however look like grains.

Amaranth comes from South and Central America, and is used in bakery products breakfast cereals and snacks. Amaranth contains more calcium and magnesium than cow's milk.

Buckwheat comes from Central Asia, and was bred in China and India. This protein contains globulin. Buckwheat is used as a basic food in parts of China, Korea and Nepal. In the U.S.they make pancakes with it and in the Netherlands it is sometimes used to make fritters.

Quinoa is also known as Inca rice and comes from South America. It is more nutritious than rice, but it is prepared in the same way. The seed swells when cooked slowly. Quinoa contains a complete protein, which is much easier to digest than meat protein.

Figure 2. Teff, a grain which could be eaten when you have a gluten allergy!
Figure 2. Teff, a grain which could be eaten when you have a gluten allergy!

The real grains

The real grains; millet, sorghum and teff, are mainly from Africa.

Of millet porridge, bread, malt and beer are made. Millet is rich in iron, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B and E and supports the digestive tract.

Sorghum consists of very small grains and could be cooked as rice, or processed as porridge, flatbreads, couscous and beer.

Of teff, flat bread or pancakes could be made. Teff is rich in protein, contains lots of calcium, magnesium and iron. Teff is a good salt substitute because it contains much potassium.

What makes a good gluten free breakfast

A good gluten free breakfast consists of grains that do not contain gliadin proteins. It is important that you take in several other proteins, which provide a longer feeling of fullness in the stomach in comparison with carbohydrates. For example, choose a nice porridge of the above cereals or flat bread with topping of your choice. Nor is it strange to like a pancake as breakfast. Quinoa is delicious as a substitute for rice but more suitable for dinner. The grains without gliadin proteins are available at health food stores.

Do you want no grains at all for breakfast? Then go for a delicious fruit mix or yogurt.


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