Gluten vs Wheat: Difference and Comparison

Both Gluten and Wheat are sometimes interchangeably used when describing food and the ingredients in the food. They are related to each other, as oftentimes, they are derived from the same plants.

Both Gluten and Wheat fall in the same category of food, and in most cases, they are present together in different food products.

Key Takeaways

  1. Gluten is a protein found in many grains, including Wheat, while Wheat is a type of grain that contains gluten.
  2. Gluten can cause digestive issues in people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease, while Wheat can cause allergic reactions in some people.
  3. Gluten-free diets exclude gluten entirely, while Wheat-free diets exclude Wheat but may still include other gluten-containing grains.

Gluten vs Wheat

Wheat is a common ingredient in many food products, containing a protein called gluten that gives it elasticity and helps it rise during baking. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and spelt that can cause health problems, such as celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

Gluten vs Wheat
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Gluten is a protein derived from different grains such as wheat, rye, oats, and barley, and also from non-grain food products such as soybeans and yeast extracts.

It has the quality of holding and binding food fibres together, and thus it makes the food products “stretchy”.

Wheat is the most commonly used and most popular type of grain, used all over the world in different types of cuisines. It is thought to be the oldest food grain cultivated by man and has been a part of our diet for centuries.

Wheat is turned into flour and used to make different food products.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonGlutenWheat
Definition Gluten is a type of protein that is derived from different grains, pulses, and other products Wheat is a type of grain that has been cultivated since the beginning of human civilization
Source Wheat and other grains contain different types of proteins, of which gluten is one.Wheat grain is cultivated from wheatgrass
Properties Gluten has the property to bind and hold fibers. It gives stretchy qualities to food productsWheat is the prime ingredient in many food products due to its ease of availability
Processing Gluten is mixed with other proteins in grains and is broken down when the grain is processed Wheat grains are processed into wheat flour for use in different products
Usage Gluten is primarily used as a binder in the yeast-based dough to make baked food products  Wheat is used in different types of food products depending on the fineness of the wheat flour 

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in different types of grains, such as wheat, rye, oats, and other non-grain food products, such as soybeans, yeast, and so on. Gluten is a family of proteins, and they are formally known as Prolamins.

Gluten is mainly found in food grains such as wheat, where it is present with a mixture of other products such as albumin, globulin, gliadin, etc.

Gluten has a variety of functional properties that are required for the proper cooking of food. Gluten has the property to bind and hold the fibres together, and thus it is primarily used as a binder in food products.

It is also responsible for inducing stretchiness in food products, and the presence of gluten is the primary reason for the stickiness and stretchiness of pizza dough. It also makes food products chewy and soft.

Gluten is considered to be a prebiotic, which is essential for the stomach culture. The stomach culture consists of bacteria that result in proper bowel movement by breaking down heavy food particles.

These bacteria feed on such prebiotic food substances. This is also responsible for the good and efficient functioning of the gut and keeping the gut healthy.

gluten

What is Wheat?

Wheat is the most popular food grain that is consumed by people all over the world. It is known to be the oldest food crop cultivated by humans and has been a part of the human diet for centuries.

Almost all cultures around the world consume wheat in one form or the other.

Wheat is a type of grass cultivated for its seed, the most common food grain.

There are many species of wheat, but the T.aestivum species, also known as the common wheat, is the type of wheat consumed worldwide.

Wheat is an important source of carbohydrates, and it is also high in protein content, which is the prime reason for its consumption. 

For consumption, wheat grains are broken down into wheat flour in a mill. The fineness of the flour varies on the mill, and depending on the fineness different types of wheat flour can be processed.

Fibre content is highest in whole wheat flour, and it also contains multiple nutrients.

Gluten is a major part of wheat protein and due to the health problems associated with gluten, such as coeliac disease, gluten ataxia, and so on, people around the world are switching to gluten-free flour.

whole wheat

Main Differences Between Gluten and Wheat

  1. Gluten is a type of protein and is mostly derived from grains. Wheat is the oldest food grain cultivated by humans.
  2. Protein is mostly obtained from grains, but non-grain sources such as soybeans also contain gluten. Wheat grain is cultivated from wheat grass.
  3. Gluten has binding properties. It also makes food chewy and stretchy. Wheat grain is cultivated due to its ease of availability.
  4. Gluten is mixed with other proteins in wheat grain. Wheat grain is processed into different types of wheat flour
  5. Gluten is used in yeast-based food products due to its binding and stretchy properties. Different types of food products are made of wheat, depending on the fineness of the wheat flour.
Difference Between Gluten and Wheat
References
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0924224405002487
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0733521098902272

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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