When you’re on a mission to avoid gluten, any word beginning with “glut” is enough to turn you in the other direction or at the very least cause suspicion because it looks similar to “gluten.” But the majority of words beginning with “glut” are not associated with the forbidden ingredient. If you’ve wondered whether the “glutamate” in monosodium glutamate (MSG) has anything to do with gluten, you can be assured that it’s gluten-free. And although “gluttony” means excess in eating or drinking, it has nothing inherently to do with gluten.
The one word that is the most suspicious of all is “glutinous,” but there’s no need to worry. While the word means having a similarity to glue, and gluten is glutinous because it has the quality of glue, glutinous is only an adjective and has nothing to do specifically with gluten. In fact, it’s a word that can help you! Gluten-free baking relies on sticky ingredients to help ingredients bind together, improve texture, and add structure. Therefore, it’s advantageous to seek out gluten-free ingredients that have a glutinous quality to them because they can add essential properties to a baked good.
For example, glutinous is often associated with certain varieties of rice, like sticky white rice used for making sushi. Sweet white rice has a sticky or glutinous quality to it, and when turned into flour it becomes sticky when moistened and can help replicate the gluteneffect in baking. Other gluten-free flours, such as amaranth flour, can also take on a sticky or glutinous quality due to its high protein content. Glutinous can actually be a helpful word in your gluten-free vocabulary.