Kochfreunde.com is the culinary magazine of Oliver Wagner. Here, everything revolves around the almost most beautiful thing in the world: good food. The focus ranges from reports on exciting restaurants to recipes from his own kitchen, cookbooks and culinary gadgets.


Kochfreunde.com ist das kulinarisches Magazin von Oliver Wagner. Hier dreht sich alles rund um die beinahe schönste Sache der Welt: Gutes Essen. Dabei reicht der Fokus von Berichten über spannende Restaurants bis hin zu Rezepten aus der eigenen Küche, Kochbücher und kulinarische Gadgets.

Gluten-free diet – just a trend or a plus for health?

It’s still the labels that count when it comes to shopping. Whereas Maggi, Knorr or, of course, Dr. Oetker, which is well known from my Westphalian homeland, used to be an advertising-loaded guarantor of the illusion of high-quality and healthy products, today the labels that drive sales are different: Organic. Floor husbandry. Eco. Local. Sustainable. Sugar free. Reduced fat. More and more products are also offered lactose-free and increasingly gluten-free.

What is this new trend all about, which target group are these products aimed at, why are more and more friends and acquaintances changing their diet, how do gluten-free dishes taste, how do you cook and bake without gluten – and how does the catering trade deal with it?

Of course, the first to benefit from the large number of new, gluten-free products are customers with celiac disease, who can now also shop in supermarkets instead of only in health food stores or by mail order, as was previously the case.

Products that contain no more than 20 milligrams of gluten per kilogram can be designated as “gluten-free”.

Gluten is a protein component, often referred to as gluten protein. It is found mainly in cereals from which bread and pasta are made, such as wheat, rye, barley or spelt. Gluten can also be added to baby food or industrially processed products such as ready meals, fruit yogurts, chocolate, sausage or pizza during production. However, gluten also lurks in products from which you would not expect it at first. Beer, for example, in addition to the basic ingredients of water, hops and malt, is often made using grain, mostly barley or wheat.

From a somewhat more theoretical point of view, gluten in aqueous solution forms a reticular, elastic and porous mass, which then constitutes the main structure of the dough for bread making. Physically, its main property is tough to elastic. It mainly ensures an increase in the volume of the dough, more elasticity, extensibility and then, above all, the binding of starch during baking.

Just under one percent of the population is affected by the autoimmune disease celiac disease. For them, gluten immediately triggers discomfort. Affected people must scrupulously avoid gluten until the end of their lives, otherwise they can permanently damage their intestines and develop severe deficiency symptoms.

Gluten Sensitivity?

In parallel, there is currently an intensive discussion about whether there is another form of gluten sensitivity that can lead to various health complaints in non-celiac patients. These range from gastrointestinal complaints to fatigue, headaches and obesity. Although results of comprehensive studies are not yet available, this finding appears to be six to seven times more common than celiac disease.

In principle, there is a wide range of foods that are generally gluten-free, including, for example, all fruits and vegetables, potatoes, salads, all dairy products, vegetable oils, meat as well as fish and seafood, sugar, honey, jam, marmalade, maple syrup, nuts and legumes, pure spices and herbs, eggs, but also rice, corn, wild rice as well as millet, buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa as well as tofu and soy milk.

For products that are usually made using cereals – for example wheat, rye, spelt, barley, green spelt, emmer, einkorn, kamut or oats – it is important to find substitutes for a gluten-free diet. Whereby it is not so easy to prepare delicious dishes without gluten. Fortunately, the manufacturers of appropriate products such as Dr. Schär (and many others on this list of the German Celiac Society e.V.. ) have made great progress in recent years.

I will get an overview of the contents, taste and preparation of corresponding products in the coming weeks and report here.

Note: This article was created with the kind cooperation of Dr. Schär GmbH, which of course does not affect the content and assessment.

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