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USA Bread and the Problem of Gluten Intolerance


Have you ever asked yourself why there is so much gluten in bread - especially bread made in the USA?

The main reason is the wheat used.  American wheat is higher in gluten. The majority of American wheat grown is hard red wheat, which is high in protein and therefore gluten.

In Europe, the majority of wheat grown is soft wheat, which is lower in gluten.

What is the difference between hard red wheat and soft wheat?

Hard wheat has more gluten than soft wheat, and the gluten it contains is stronger than gluten found in soft wheat. This tough gluten is ideal for baking soft, fluffy bread that people are used to consuming in the United States.

Soft wheat has a very different consistency. It has less gluten (and less protein overall) than hard wheat, and what gluten it does have is weak and easily broken down. This softer wheat is generally preferred for making pastries, cakes, cookies and other non-bread products.

And it is not just about the gluten content

There are other differences because of the soil and growing conditions. In addition, American wheat contains about ten times more selenium (which is a trace mineral) than European varieties.

American wheat is grown in sulfur-deficient soils which can contribute to gluten reactions.  Gliadin is the gluten subfraction responsible for most of the allergenic response to wheat consumption and any gliadin concentration in wheat can be modified by the presence of sulfur in the soil. The concentration of sulfur in the soil regulates the amount of allergenic gliadin proteins the wheat produces during its lifecycle.  The less sulfur in the soil, the more gliadin in the gluten. The more gliadin in the gluten, the more reactive a person will be to the wheat when they eat it.

European wheat tends to be lower in gliadin.

Gliadin is the gluten component that’s most problematic for celiac and gluten sensitive people.

Is wheat good for us?

While wheat is considered to be a rich source of vitamins (especially vitamin B), minerals, antioxidants and fiber, it does also contain gluten which is a protein that triggers a harmful response by the immune system in some individuals.

What is the healthiest whole wheat flour?

Quinoa flour is gluten-free and is widely considered to be a healthy whole grain. Since it is not processed, much of its original nutrients remain intact, giving the consumer more nutritional value.

And another suggestion is millet.  This tiny grain is “gluten free” and packed with many vitamins and minerals – a veritable powerhouse of goodness. This staple of any whole grain diet is over 10% protein with a high fiber content and especially full of B-complex vitamins but one of the most important aspects of millet is its rich source of magnesium.