Ask Holly: Is Gluten Unhealthy?

Given that barley is high in gluten, does that make it unhealthy? I made a delicious pot of barley and immune-boosting vegetables for my daughter, but I’m confused about what’s wrong with gluten? THANK YOU!



Hi Sarah,

Gluten is a protein found in grains, and it is only “bad for you” if you have a sensitivity or allergy to it.  Most people have symptoms and know they have a health issue they can’t identify.  For these people, it’s wise to try cutting out gluten to see if the symptoms go away.  Some of these symptoms are:  digestive disorders like excess gas, bloating and IBS,   Frequent colds and bronchitis, unexplained infertility, fatigue,  and seasonal allergies.  If you and your family aren’t experiencing any of these things, you don’t need to avoid gluten.

3 thoughts on “Ask Holly: Is Gluten Unhealthy?”

  1. What about gluten that is added? I was looking at some ingredients on a package of bread and they were: whole wheat, flour, water, honey, salt, yeast, wheat gluten. I thought gluten was already in wheat so it concerned me that it seemed like it was added. Am I correct in my thinking? Thanks!

  2. Gluten is added to many whole grain breads to make it more “springy” and less dense. It also makes the bread rise higher and keep its shape. You’ll see added gluten on many whole wheat products. This is also why gluten free breads often consist of many different types of flours- without the gluten, they have to add many things to make the bread rise and be light enough to eat!

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