Gluten - What is it? and Where does it hide?

on Wednesday, 16 February 2011.

Gluten - What is it? and Where does it hide?

Gluten – What is it? and Where does it hide?

 

Gluten is a Latin word that actually means “glue”.   Gluten is a type of protein found in wheat and related grains such as rye and barley.  It gives elasticity to dough, helping it to rise and keep its shape and is often added to, low protein foods to increase the protein content. 

 

Many people around the world suffer from gluten sensitivity.  Gluten intolerance is also known as Celiac disease.  Quite simply, if you suffer from Celiac disease you have a genetic disorder that makes you intolerant to gluten.

Symptoms of Celiac Disease Can Include:

  • Weight Loss
  • Diarrhoea
  • Malnutrition
  • Mild weakness
  • Bone pain
  • Abdominal bloating (stomach swells)
  • Nutrient Deficiencies

Some Everyday Foods that Contain Gluten are:

  • Bread
  • Muffins
  • Pies and Pastries
  • Pasta
  • Many Breakfast Cereals
  • Biscuits and Cookies

Consequences of Consuming Gluten for a Celiac
If a person who is gluten intolerant continues consuming gluten their chances of developing gastrointestinal cancer increase dramatically. Apart from this, their quality of life may also be seriously undermined.

Treatment
The only real answer is to avoid all products that contain gluten for the rest of their life.  However, avoiding gluten is not so easy.  Many products have hidden gluten in them and it is important for someone who is gluten intolerant to educate themselves.  Many of the everyday foods containing gluten are now available in gluten free forms, however, there are also many nutrient rich foods that do not contain gluten at all and offer a celiac a well balanced diet.

Some Everyday Gluten Free Foods to Enjoy

  • Fresh Meat
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Fish and Shellfish
  • Most Cheeses

A few tips to avoid hidden gluten

 

  • Be careful when you eat out as fresh fruit and vegetables often have sauces or coatings added to them
  • Cheese spreads often contain gluten
  • Pre-grated cheese has flour added to stop the cheese sticking together
  • Grain alcohol such as beer, scotch, bourbon and grain vodka all contain gluten

 

There are many gluten free products available at your local Farmers Market.  The great thing about us is that you are buying direct from growers and producers themselves, they know exactly what is in their products and how they have been produced.

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