Is spelt bread gluten free
Is spelt bread gluten free? In this blog, we will discuss all about spelt bread and gluten. Spelled bread is more or less synonymous with ‘healthy’ these days. Where wheat is put in the damn corner on all sides, we are often advised to eat spelled. After all, that would be a primal grain, or else more natural, and therefore a lot better for you. However, something strange happens with all those hymns on spelled – sometimes it suddenly says in a list that game bread is gluten-free.
Sounds helpful for celiac people, but unfortunately it’s not true at all! In today’s article, we look at exactly how gluten is in spelled. We also discuss whether spelled bread could be a better alternative to wheat.
What is Gluten?
There are quite a few misunderstandings about what gluten actually is. A small explanation is therefore in order here! Gluten (and yes, that is also the singular) is a collective name for different types of proteins that you find in all kinds of grain. Wheat is one of them, but oats, rye and barley are also full of it.
Gluten provides binding and firmness – it is not without reason that the name is related to the English glue. They are therefore also used in products where you would not immediately expect them. Think of soups and sauces that you can find ready-to-eat in the supermarket.
Is gluten unhealthy?
Now these poor proteins have gotten a pretty bad name in recent years. There seemed to be studies to suggest that gluten could lead to stomach pain, fatigue and many other complaints. The problem is, most of those investigations have now been withdrawn!
So the general consensus is still that gluten is completely safe for almost everyone. Only if you have gluten intolerance (celiac disease) are gluten really dangerous. They then attack the intestinal wall, which loses its intestinal villi and therefore becomes too smooth. You can then no longer properly absorb nutrients.
However, this problem only affects up to one percent of the population. Gluten should be safe for other people.
What is spelled bread?
Okay, then on to that spelled bread. As the name implies, this bread contains spelled flour or spelled flour. However, contrary to popular belief, not all spelled bread is made entirely with spelled. The name is not officially protected, as is the case with wholemeal bread, for example.
Producers can therefore call something spelled bread if it contains a little bit of spelled – even if the rest is supplemented with wheat. In addition, a lot of spelled flour is often used instead of spelled flour. As a result, the final bread contains less fiber, which also makes it less healthy. It is therefore very important to always read the label carefully when you choose spelled bread; only then will you know exactly what you are buying!
Does spelled bread contain gluten?
Now suppose you have found a spelled bread that does not use wheat. Then we have some bad news for you: it is still not gluten-free. Spelled is also just one of the grains that contains gluten. It is a different type of gluten than what you find in wheat. However, for people with celiac disease, that doesn’t matter – it still upsets their bowels considerably.
Unfortunately, producers of spelled bread sometimes claim that their products are gluten-free. If you are intolerant to gluten, it is very important that you do not fall for it. You can also report this kind of misleading information to the Dutch Celiac Disease Association.
Is spelled bread healthier than wheat bread?
Furthermore, there is little reason to place spelled bread on such an enormous pedestal. Certainly, the grain has its good qualities. However, these are little different from those of (qualitative) wheat. The ratio of carbohydrates and proteins is almost the same. Due to the use of spelled flour, spelled bread usually does not contain any more fiber at all.
Spelled contains slightly more unsaturated fatty acids, but wheat contains more omega 3 fat. All in all, the two grains are so closely related that you would need a DNA test to distinguish them from each other. It is certainly not the case that spelled in itself is always healthier than wheat. They are just too similar for that.
Spelled and FODMAPs
All well and good, you might say now, but there are plenty of people who do feel better eating spelled bread. How is that possible? If we turn off the possibility of a placebo effect, there is one possible explanation: FODMAPs.
These are small particles that are also often found in low-carbohydrate products and that lead to intestinal complaints in some people. The substances ferment during digestion, releasing gases that can cause stomach pain, for example.
There are now known cases of people who could not tolerate the FODMAPs in wheat, but those in spelled. If you fall into that category, spelled bread can indeed be healthier. We do recommend that you consult a dietitian if you think you suffer from FODMAPs – there are probably more products that you should avoid.
Better quality spelled bread
To summarize everything: that spelled bread is supposed to be gluten-free is a myth. If spelled bread does help you feel better, it does not mean that you cannot tolerate gluten. Instead, it is probably due to FODMAPs that you cannot digest properly. Finally, there is one more silly reason why spelled bread can be healthier: the quality is often just better.
Cheap supermarket bread full of unnecessary additives is never made with spelled. If you eat spelled bread, it probably comes from better bakers who bake all their bread better. And that too can make a noticeable difference to your health! If this is the case, you can also buy good quality plain wheat bread.