Q. I know several people with gluten intolerance who can eat products made with sprouted grains with no digestive problems. Therefore, we suspect that the "poison" in gluten is eliminated in the sprouting process and that the grain is essentially transformed into a vegetable. What is your opinion on this?
A. Gluten is not a poison; it's a protein of which some people are intolerant. Either way, however, it is not eliminated by sprouting. People who are truly gluten intolerant (such as those with celiac disease) should not consume sprouted grains or products made from them--unless, course, the grains were gluten-free to start out with.
As for whether the process of sprouting turns a grain into a vegetable, it really depends on how you define your terms.
Designations like "vegetable" are notoriously slippery. Most of the carbohydrates in non-starchy vegetables are in the form of sugars. Most of the carbs in grains, on the other hand, are in the form of starch. When you sprout a grain, some of its starches are transformed into sugars; however, it still contains a fair amount of starch. Nutritionally (and not botanically) speaking, a sprouted grain might be akin to a starchy vegetable, such as corn or potatoes.
See also: Sprouted Grains
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