Gluten is a protein found in cereals such as wheat, rye and barley. When it's mixed with water gluten forms stretchy, sticky strands that bind mixtures together and trap bubbles to form the light and airy consistency of bread and cakes. This means that cooking without gluten requires different ingredients and methods.
What does gluten-free actually mean?
Although the term 'gluten free' implies no gluten, in reality tests aren't sensitive enough to detect a zero level of gluten. Only foods that contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm), sometimes expressed as 200mg gluten/kg, can be labelled 'gluten-free', which allows even those who have a high sensitivity to gluten to be able to eat them with confidence.
It's important to read food labels when starting on a gluten-free diet, as gluten can be found in the most unexpected places such as in soy sauce and cooking sauces. UK law means that all foods must say if they contain any allergens and so you'll be able to see straight away whether something contains gluten.
All Genius foods are gluten free, as well as being wheat free too.
What foods should I avoid?
Gluten is present in many of our common foods including bread, pasta, pizza, cakes, biscuits and breakfast cereals. A lot of processed foods, such as soups, sauces and ready meals contain gluten too, and it can also be found in foods where you might not expect it such as sausages and burgers (as breadcrumbs or rusk is used to bulk the meat out).
What foods can I still enjoy?
As well as all the delicious gluten-free Genius foods, there are lots of naturally gluten-free foods. These include meat, fish, fruit, and vegetables. Rice, potatoes and a wide range of grains and pulses, such as quinoa, buckwheat and lentils, are also naturally gluten free and so make great healthy meal accompaniments.