Many people are now looking to avoid gluten as well as sugar in their diet so it is worth looking at which sugar free candy is also gluten free.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat and other grains. The name comes from the Latin word for glue. If you have ever made bread and tried to remove a sticky dough from your fingers you will understand the connection!. Yeast makes the bread rise but it is the gluey nature of the gluten that helps to create the open texture of the bread when it is cooked. The reason why bread is kneaded is because this helps to develop long strands of gluten and "strengthen" the dough. To a lesser extent most cakes and biscuits benefit from the gluten content of the flour. The other main element in flour is starch which by itself doesn't make such good baked products.
Because gluten is a protein it is can also be used to make meat substitutes for vegetarian cooking. In the far east some remarkably convincing and delicious mock meat dishes can be prepared using gluten. .
Why Avoid Gluten?
For some people it is essential to eliminate gluten from their diet. An autoimmune condition called Coeliac Disease (in some countries it is called celiac) means that the body can't tolerate gluten in any form. It is not possible to establish the presence of Coeliac disease without specific medical tests carried out by doctors. The symptoms of Coeliac disease are similar to those of many other conditions so you cannot diagnose it yourself. Once it is diagnosed most people will have to follow a strict gluten free diet for life.
A good place to go for more information on coeliac disease is www.coeliac.org.uk
If someone HAS to follow a gluten free diet, it complicates day to day life considerably, even with the larger number of gluten free items now on sale. They need to avoid not just the obvious things like bread, cakes and pasta but many items have hidden gluten perhaps as a thickener or coating. A recognized website such as that given above is probably the best source of product information
Some people who do not have a coeliac diagnosis feel that they want to reduce the gluten in their diet for other reasons. Here is a good article about if you should want to go gluten free:
For those people with a slight sensitivity to gluten or who want to change their lifestyle for personal reasons, it's probably enough to cut out the major gluten sources.
Gluten and Sugar free
I have written this blog because I do get quite a lot of enquiries from customers with queries about the ingredients in my sweets..
Most of the items that Sweetswithout sells are Gluten free. There are some exceptions such as the choc wafer biscuits.
I created a list of gluten free sweets here