Gluten and Gluten Free DietsPosted 9 years ago under Uncategorized
Gluten and Gluten Free Diets
Many people have begun to experiment with reducing or eliminating gluten from their diets to see if their health could improve, and/or to attempt to lose weight.
At first, gluten-free food choices were hard to come by in stores and restaurants. One could only find them in a tiny spot in the frozen-foods section or the pasta aisle in health food stores and healthier grocery stores like Whole Foods Market or Trader Joe’s. The prices were exorbitant. However, people paid them and began to demand more gluten-free foods. Consequently, the supply increased, and now many regular chain grocery stores feature gluten-free aisles.
As a consequence many restaurants, like PF Chang’s, and Mellow Mushroom, now offer gluten-free menus. Even fast food chains and stadiums have caught on—Domino’s Pizza now advertises gluten-free pizza and many stadiums sell gluten-free snacks. While prices for gluten-free foods have come down due to increased supply, however gluten free foods are still quite expensive. (1)
What Is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein that is made up of gliadin and glutenin. It acts as an emulsifier, so it helps to bind food together. Wheat is the most commonly eaten grain that contains gluten, but there are a lot of grains that contain gluten. (2)
- Dinkle (another term for spelt)
- Freekeh (Middle Eastern cereal made from green wheat)
- Gluten Peptides
- Graham Flour
- Matza, Matzo or Matzah (A traditional Jewish bread made from wheat)
- Wheat berry, Wheat Germ, Wheat Grass, or Wheat Nuts
Many people who react to gluten are also sensitive to oats. Although oats do not contain gluten, the protein in oats, avenin closely resembles the amino acid sequence of gluten and thus has a similar chemical structure to gluten.
Also, to avoid gluten with oats it is necessary to purchase gluten free oats and most oats are processed in the same plants as wheat and other gluten containing grains. Cross contamination is pretty much guaranteed if the oats are not gluten free. (3)
Gluten is commonly found in breads, bread crumbs, baked goods, beer, biscuits, brewer’s yeast, brown rice syrup (often made with barley enzymes), cereals, communion wafers, crepes, croutons, dextrin, flour tortillas, food coloring, food starch, French toast, granola, gravies, herbal teas, malt vinegar, marinades, sauces, pancakes, pastas, roux, salad dressing, soup, soy sauce, starch, stuffing, waffles, and wine. Any processed food made in a facility that also processes foods with gluten may be contaminated. (4)
Non-food Sources Of Gluten
Other non-food items that may not be gluten free include:
- Lipbalm, lipgloss, lipstick
- Vitamin and mineral pills
- Over the counter medications
- Playdough (some kids will eat copious amounts of the stuff when playing with it)
At this time the FDA does not require that foods containing gluten be labeled as such. This list is meant to be as comprehensive as possible, but many ingredients that sometimes contain gluten are not listed here. Natural flavors, artificial flavors and modified food starch could contain gluten. When in doubt it is best to check with the manufacturer to verify that the food is gluten free.