If gluten foods cause you digestive problems, you may have a gluten allergy or could be suffering from celiac disease. Gluten is the name for the protein found in wheat, rye and barley. For certain individuals, consuming these foods can lead to major health issues. Problems occur because gluten is a long chain protein that is hard to fully digest. Consequently, gluten can sometimes enter the small intestines partially intact and cause an immune reaction in sensitive individuals.
There has been an increase in the number of people affected by gluten problems. One theory about this phenomenon is that the modifications that have been done to wheat, via modern farming methods, have made the grain unfit for human consumption. The gluten molecules of today are much larger and have a more complex structure than they had 50 years ago–making them that much harder for our digestive systems to handle.
It’s important for people with celiac disease or a gluten allergy to avoid foods containing gluten. For these people a gluten-free diet usually needs to be followed for life. The following are some foods to avoid.
Keep clear of foods that contain wheat, spelt, kamut, triticale and some oats (certain oats are labeled gluten free). You will need to avoid most breads, cereals, crackers, pretzels, pastas, muffins, scones, and processed foods. Before you get too depressed about your limited diet, you should know that there are several gluten-free varieties of these foods available, and more are made available on the market every year.
Avoid breaded meat, poultry and fish as well as meatballs or meat loaf that contain breadcrumbs. Also avoid processed meats that contain vegetable protein or flour.
Processed cheese often contains gluten, and flour is added to most shredded cheese to prevent it from sticking together.
Avoid breaded vegetables, jams or jellies with thickeners. Flavored potato chips should be absent from your diet as well.
Sauces and Seasonings
You’ll need to check the labels on everything you buy. Canned soups, gravies, chip dips, salad dressings, soy sauce, bullion cubes, stocks, malt vinegar, white pepper and steak sauce often contain gluten.
Unless the package states otherwise, most cookies, pies, cakes, ice cream, puddings and pastries contain gluten. What you may not know is that some candies also contain gluten including some liquorish, jelly beans, mints and gum.
Beverages are often an overlooked source of gluten. Beer and other alcohol derived from wheat, barley, malt and rye, flavored coffees, non-dairy creamers, some instant coffees, chocolate milk, malted milk, hot chocolate mix, and breakfast drinks can all contain gluten.
Sometimes gluten can be hidden in a variety of places on a food label. Modified food starch, natural flavoring, spices and caramel coloring can all be sources of gluten. Lip glosses and balms, certain medications and vitamins may also contain gluten.
Remember that ingredients change from time to time in food products, so always check the label. It’s a good idea to call the manufacturer if you are uncertain as to whether or not a product is gluten free.