Nutritional Information for Gluten Intolerance
What exactly is gluten?
Gluten is the generic term for proteins found in several common grains. The grains that contain gluten are:
Kamut (a version of wheat)
Triticale (this is a crossbread species from wheat and rye)
How many people truly need to worry about gluten?
Current estimates suggest that 1 inevery 133 Americans suffers a reaction to ingesting gluten.
The Gluten Sensitivity Spectrum
Sensitivity reactions may be difficult to recognize. They may be immediate, but many times if you are sensitive, it can appear up to 3 days later. Symptoms can be vague, such as fatigue, malaise, headache, stomach and abdominal pain, skin breakouts, or bloating.
If you are concerned or worried that you may have celiac or gluten sensitivity, there are several tests you can do. Specific antibodies against gluten are found in people who have true celiac disease. The antibodies are:
Tissue trans-glutaminase IgA antibody or tTG
Anti-gliadin IgG and IgA
We test for all three in people who we suspect may be gluten-allergic. No test in medicine is 100% sensitive or specific. Even if the tests are negative, you may feel much better not eating wheat. This is much more important than a positive or negative test. The real test and the most important test is how you feel! Eliminating wheat makes a lot of people feel significantly better.
If you are not truly allergic to gluten, you can still have a sensitivity. This is much more difficult to realize as many times the symptoms are delayed. You can find this out by a IgG blood test that specifically looks for sensitivity.
If you have a wheat allergy, you most likely know that you do. Allergic symptoms – itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, wheezing, skin rash, or diarrhea – appear very quickly directly after you eat the grain. Many people can also be so sensitive that accidental inhalation of flour (if someone is baking) may cause symptoms as well.
If you have celiac disease and 3 million Americans do, you absolutely must avoid gluten all-together. Wheat will completely destroy the villi that line the intestines and causes malabsorption and increases your chances of colon cancer.
Remember, when in doubt – go without.
If you are intolerant to wheat, symptoms can include
1. Digestive distress; bloating, gas, pain, diarrhea, constipation, “the gurgles”
2. Skin complaints like itching, eczema, hives
3. Joint and muscle pain
5. Malabsorption or nutrients
6. Headaches, including migraines
Foods that may contain gluten
- Bread or bread products including tortillas
- Broth, soup bases
- Brown rice syrup
- Cheese sauces, cheese spreads, flavored cheeses
- Communion wafers
- Croutons, imitation bacon
- Dried fruits (may be dusted with oat flour)
- Drugs or over-the-counter medications
- Flour or cereal products
- Herbal supplements
- Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
- Ice creams made with gluten containing ingrediants (cookie dough, brownies, waffle cone pieces, etc.)
- Icing and frosting (may contain wheat flour or wheat starch)
- Imitation seafood
- Matzo products
- Potato chips
- Processed luncheon meats (such as bologna, hot dogs)
- Rice blends or mixes
- Sauces, gravies
- Seasoned nuts
- Self-basting poultry
- Soy sauce or soy sauce solids
- Stuffing, dressing
- Tempeh (may be combined with wheat)
- Thickeners (roux)
- Vegan products (may have wheat or flour added)
- Vitamin and mineral supplements
- Beans, legumes
- Buckwheat and kasha
- Cheese, plain (check label if shredded)
- Coffee and tea (check labels if flavored)
- Corn products including cornstarch, corn flour, cornmeal, corn grits
- Cream cheese, cottage cheese
- Fresh and frozen vegetables and vegetable juices
- Fresh fruit
- Fresh organic meat and chicken
- Milk, buttermilk, cream
- Millet, quinoa, flax, sorghum, and flours derived from them
- Nuts and seeds
- Nut and seed flour
- Nut milks – almond, coconut, rice
- Rice of all kinds
- Rice flour
- Vinegar – distilled alcoholic beverages
Rice, corn, potato, tapioca, beans, garfava, sorghum, quinoa, millet buckwheat, arrowroot, amaranth, teff, Montina, and nut flours.
Carmel color – can be made from corn, citric acid, or barley malt
Dextrin – can be made with corn, rice, potatos, arrowroot, tapioca, or wheat
Maltodextrin – comes from wheat or corn.
Yeast – brewer’s yeast that is a byproduct of beer; brewer’s yeast nutritional supplements made from brewer’s yeast
Distilled vinegars and distilled alcoholic beverages and wine are safe to drink – malt or malt flavoring, malt vinegar, beers, ales, lagers (are made from gluten-containing grains).
Hydrolyzed vegetable protein – if you see this listed on the ingredients, it can be made from wheat, soy, corn, or a mixture of grains.
Contamination of a gluten-free product can occur if that product is manufactured, processed, transported or packaged on equipment that also processes gluten-containing foods or grains.
For more support about living gluten free:
Celiac Disease Foundation: www.celiac.org
Gluten Intolerance Group: gluten.net
National Digestive Diseases: www.digestive.niddk.nih.gov/pubs/celiac/index.htm
National Institutes of Health Celiac Disease Awareness Campaign: www.celiac.nih.gov
Celiac Spruce Association: www.csaceliacs.org