You've probably come across this nutritional term on food packaging or health articles online. Perhaps you know someone who's on a gluten free diet because of a serious illness or condition. It's time to understand this concept, if you don't already.
Let's take a look at what gluten is, why it can cause problems for some people, and who should consider the discipline and benefits of a gluten free diet.
Gluten is simply a protein component of the endosperm of certain, but not all, grains.
Gluten is a composite of the proteins gliadin and glutenin.
Gluten is derived from grains when the starch is removed. It's a tough, rubbery, sticky nitrogen gel that develops elasticity and stretchability when kneaded. It does this by trapping the carbon dioxide produced by the yeast in the dough, enabling it to rise without structural collapse.
Gluten is used as a flavoring, thickening, or protein-boosting ingredient in commercially produced foods and beverages.
It's not easy to be totally gluten free.
Gluten can be found in a wide range of food products and beverages, sometimes where you'd least expect it. Some foods contain gluten, but don't list it as an ingredient.
Gluten pops up routinely in soups, salad dressings, processed foods, natural flavorings, and unidentified starch, binders and fillers in medications, supplements, and vitamins.
Gluten is a protein contained in wheat, barley and rye and oats. The protein gives the millets a sticky nature that is essential for some recipes.
Gluten free diet means taking the foods that do not contain wheat, rye, oats, and barley or gluten per se in any form.
The important nutritional consideration for the celiac disease patients is to be very cautious while consuming food as even a little gluten can actually trigger the disease and to get the symptoms exacerbate. Diets come and go but celiac sufferers have to follow a strict gluten free diet - - sadly, for their entire life.
Gluten free diet patients have to abstain from indulging on their favorite foods such as pizzas, toppings, sauces, nachos and beer so to say simply. While breads, buns, cakes, soups, pancakes, pies, pizzas are all obvious sources of gluten, the less obvious sources of gluten are some candies, beers, malted beverages, marinades, croutons, sauces and a few salad dressings.
It is very important for gluten free diet patients to read labels of the foods that you are about to purchase. There are several foods items such as drinks, juices, soft drinks, tea, alcoholic beverages, prescription medicines and others. It is also important to tell the pharmacists that you are looking at gluten free products in order to get some help and advice.
-- Gluten Free Diet.Org
Celiac disease (autoimmune digestive disorder)
Polymyositis (a rare connective tissue disease)
According to WebMD "The G-Free Diet" book review:
When people with celiac disease eat foods containing gluten, they experience an inflammatory reaction that can damage the small intestine and inhibit nutrient absorption. Symptoms may include diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, weight loss, and fatigue.
Though The G-Free Diet advises against diagnosing yourself with celiac disease and encourages people to see a doctor for testing, it also promotes a gluten-free diet for other reasons, including managing autism and weight, controlling IBS, counteracting ADHD, boosting energy levels, improving attention span, and speeding digestion.
"Even people with no health issues have a great deal to gain by giving up gluten," Hasselbeck writes.
Gluten Free Diet Organization
Annie's Natural Gluten Free Products
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs: Nutrition Glossary
WebMD "The G-Free Diet" book review