Gluten-free diets are more popular now than they were in the past. Most markets now contain a gluten-free aisle for individuals looking for gluten-free foods.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein that consists of glutenin and gliadin. It can be found in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale. Gluten in food and baked goods acts like glue. In baking, gluten is an essential part of the dough-making process.
It is responsible for the elastic characteristic of dough and its ability to ferment and rise. Furthermore, gluten is what makes baked goods such as cakes and muffins chewy and moist.
Who avoids Gluten and Why?
Gluten is dangerous for those diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder and can be life-threatening.
In coeliacs, upon the ingestion of gluten, the immune system attacks the small intestine. Therefore, individuals with celiac disease must maintain a life-long strict gluten-free diet.
Meanwhile, gluten intolerance is a term used to categorize individuals that manifest celiac disease symptoms without the immune system’s response. It is less severe than Celiac disease.
However, the symptoms can be troubling for some. Therefore, gluten-intolerant individuals maintain a gluten-free diet to manage their symptoms.
Foods to Avoid on a Gluten-Free Diet
Going on a gluten-free diet is not easy as gluten can be found in the least expected foods. However, there are certain foods to avoid, such as:
- Bulgur Wheat
- Baked goods such as muffins, cupcakes, cakes and cookies.
Please read food labels if you need to avoid food that contains gluten.
Foods to Avoid that May Contain Gluten
- Oats ( it is recommended to buy oats labeled as gluten-free to eliminate the chance of cross-contamination in factories).
- Salad Dressing
- Sauces such as Soy Sauce
- Food Coloring
- Chocolate ( Some Chocolate contain barley)
- Pre-packaged nuts ( may contain traces of gluten)
- Food Spices ( may contain traces of gluten)
- Processed meat such as pepperoni, hamburgers
The Basic Gluten-Free Food List
The following food list contains foods that are naturally gluten-free and fit for those on a gluten-free diet:
- Fruits and Vegetables
- Most Dairy products such as milk and cheese
- Beans and nuts
Frequently Ask Questions:
What are the worst foods for gluten intolerance?
The worst foods for gluten-intolerants are wheat, barley, rye, and triticale. However, the ingestion of gluten in any amount can cause symptoms for gluten-intolerant individuals. Therefore, any food that contains gluten or traces of gluten must be avoided. Before eating or buying food, it is essential to read the labels.
How do I eliminate gluten from my diet?
The best way to eliminate gluten from your diet is by reading food labels when buying food. Any food that contains wheat, barley, rye, and malt syrup should be avoided. Most food labels highlight in bold any allergy information. However, it is recommended to buy items labeled as “Gluten-Free” to stay safe.
Eliminating gluten when going out to restaurants is challenging. Before ordering food, inform the restaurant of your condition and ask if they offer gluten-free meals. Don’t be shy about advocating for yourself and pushing for information. Furthermore, be aware of cross-contamination at restaurants. For example, french fries are naturally gluten-free; however, if fried with other things such as nuggets, cross-contamination can occur.
What foods are high in gluten?
Foods that contain a lot of gluten are baked goods such as bread, muffins, cookies, cupcakes, cake, pizza, pasta, etc. However, it is vital to keep in mind that most processed foods contain gluten or “traces of gluten.” Therefore, it is essential to read food labels to stay safe.
Contributed By Science and Crumbs
Melissa Andrews is the Content Marketing Strategist for Paradise Living Centers, an assisted living center for seniors with locations in Paradise Valley and Phoenix, Arizona. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking and going on hiking trips with her siblings and cousins.