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Does Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Mix Contain Gluten?

by
author image Emily Creasy
Emily Creasy began writing professionally in 2010. As a registered and licensed dietitian her writing focuses on weight loss, disease-specific diets and diet-friendly cooking. She holds a Bachelor of Science in human nutrition, foods and exercise from Virginia Tech and a Master of Science in dietetics from James Madison University.
Does Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Mix Contain Gluten?
Two bowls of Macaroni and Cheese. Photo Credit Azurita/iStock/Getty Images

Gluten is a protein complex that is created when wheat flour combines with water. All foods that are made from, or with, wheat products can contain gluten. The noodles used in Kraft Macaroni and Cheese are made with wheat flour. Because of this, those with gluten allergies should avoid eating this product.

Gluten

Gluten is a protein complex that is found in wheat flour. It helps develop the texture, volume and structure of many baked goods. Gluten is made up of gliadin and glutenin. Gliadin is what helps create sticky bread doughs, while glutenin helps make bread dough more elastic and easily stretched. Gluten is contained in any food that is made from, with, or around wheat. Foods containing gluten include, but are not limited to, wheat, rye, barley, bulgur, couscous, kamut, beer, thickeners, imitation meat products and many processed foods. Because they are made in areas where wheat products are present, oat and oat products are often considered to have gluten as well.

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese

The number one ingredient in Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is enriched macaroni, which is made with wheat flour. As such, the macaroni used in Kraft Macaroni and Cheese does contain gluten. The cheese mix that is included in a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese does not list any gluten-containing ingredients. It is made primarily of whey, milk fat, milk protein concentrate, and salt. For those with gluten allergies, it is possible to enjoy the taste of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese by using gluten free pasta in place of the wheat macaroni noodles included in the box.

Gluten Allergy

Celiac disease is a disease involving the digestive system in which the small intestines are unable to properly absorb certain nutrients in foods. In particular, those with celiac disease are unable to tolerate gluten. Eating gluten can cause the lining of the small intestine to breakdown, preventing the body from absorbing the nutrients in foods. Prolonged intake of gluten can cause malnourishment and weight loss regardless of the amount of food eaten. Symptoms of celiac disease include abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, pale or fatty bowel movements and weight loss.

Gluten Alternatives

While many foods do contain gluten, there are alternatives available to help replace the gluten in foods and offer more variety in the diet. Commercially made gluten-free foods are available including breads, crackers, pastas, and cereals. In recipes, other types of flours can be used in place of wheat flour including rice flour, almond flour, and black bean flour. Gluten-free all purpose flours are also available and are made using a combination of gluten-free flours and starches. These help provide the texture and structure of traditionally made baked goods without the use of gluten.

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