What is Gluten?
Gluten is the generic name for certain types of proteins found in common cereal grains – mainly wheat, barley, rye, spelt, and kamut (versions of wheat), triticale (a grain crossbred from wheat and rye), and their derivatives.
Whom It Affects
Current estimates suggest that 1 in every 133 Americans suffers a reaction to ingesting gluten, which is present in many products.
The Gluten Sensitivity Spectrum
Gluten is found in many foods otherwise considered wholesome, making the supermarket- for those who have an intolerance for gluten or those with celiac disease- a minefield.
The sensistivity to wheat and associated glutens range from mildly annoying to very serious.:
Conditions and Symptoms
- If you have a wheat allergy, you probably realize it. Allergic symptoms- itchy, watery eyes; runny nose; wheezing; skin rash; or diarrhea- appear very quickly after ingesting this grain. Eliminating wheat may be enough to relieve your symptoms. And you may still be able to eat oat or rye products.
Digestive distress, such as stomachache, bloating , diarrhea
Skin complaints like itching, eczema, hives
Joint and muscle pain
Malabsorption of nutrients
Headaches, including migraines
Antibody screenings are used to diagnose gluten intolerance
- If you have celias disease (symptoms include those listed above), which up to 3 million Americans are estimated to have, you must avoid gluten totally to avoid destroying your small intestine and possibly leading to more serious diseases, including cancer.
Living Gluten Free
You don’t have to give up all foods to live gluten-free: dietitians recommend that patients eat a variety of good things people should eat anyway, such as fresh meats, fruits, vegetables, milk, and legumes. All are naturally gluten free.
But you must become more vigilant about you diet, especially when it comes to:
- Eliminating foods that contain gluten: wheat, rye, barley, spelt, kamut, and triticale.
- Discovering that wheat-free; a product may have some other gluten-containing grain.
- Reading labels of all bakery and packaged foods carefully.
- Knowing that gluten-containing grains are used as both basic ingredients and additives during processing or preparation.
- Being aware that ingredients may need to be clarified by the manufacturer. Example: Hydrolyzed vegetable protein on an ingredient list may be made from wheat, soy, corn, or a mix of grains.
If you or someone in your family is gulten-intolerant, read the labels of foods every time you buy them, as ingredients may change at any time. To make sure you’re clear about contents, get in touch with manufacturers and ask them questions. It’s vitally improtantn that you know for certain a good is gluten-free. Always remember: If in doubt, go without.
Allowed Foods: Rice, corn, potato, tapioca, beans, garfava, sorghum, quinoa, millet, arrowroot, amaranth, teff, Montina, nut flours, distilled vinegars, distilled alcoholic beverages, wine, brand-name packaged yeast, caramel color made from corn citric acid, pure spices or bottled spices containing silicon dioxide, vanilla and vanilla extract.
Not Allowed Foods: Wheat (durum, graham, kamut, semolina, spelt), rye, barley, triticale, or products containing these items. Malt or malt flavoring, malt vinegar, beers, ales, lagers (are made from gluten-containging grains), brewer;s yeast that is a byproduct of beer, caramel color made from barly malt, dextrin made from wheat, wheat maltodextrin or maltodextrin (wheat), and starch or modified food starch made from wheat.
For more information about gluten intolerance and living gluten-free, visit:
Celiac Disease Foundation: celiac.org
Gluten Intolerance Group: gluten.net
Source: National Digestive Disease, Celiac Disease Foundation, Gluten Intolerance