Gluten Free Diet
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and some oats
Gluten generally contains 75-80% protein which are mostly composed of two proteins, gliadins and glutenins
Gives dough elasticity and strength
Used as a filler and as a binder in prepackaged foods
Fresh meats, fish, and poultry (unless breaded and marinated)
Most diary products (although many gluten-sensitive individuals are sensitive to dairy protein)
Gluten-free flours (rice, soy, corn, potato)
What Foods Contains Gluten ?
Flour products (breads, pasta)
Some oats (gluten-free oats are available)
Some lunch meat
Some sport drinks
Beer (except Redbridge beer by Budweiser)
Cereals (unless gluten-free)
Food additives (flavorings, malt)
Modified food starch can also contain gluten
How Many people have Gluten Intolerance?
1 in 8% are thought to be gluten intolerant (Which is about 39 million Americans)
77% produce antibodies in response to gluten (231 million Americans)
8% have an autoimmune disease (24 million)
Gluten-sensitivity can lead to similar celiac symptoms such as stomach cramps, diarrhea and bloating. But unlike celiac, sensitivity doesn’t damage the intestine
The gluten-free diet is used by persons who are gluten-sensitive to prevent damage to their small intestines and to prevent serious complications such as gastrointestinal cancers, iron deficiency anemia, and decreased bone mineral density
Celiac Disease And Dermatitis Herpetiformis
Celiac disease is caused by a reaction to gliadin, a prolamine (gluten protein) causing autoimmune disorder of the small intestine
Symptoms: Diarrhea, abdominal distension, gastrointestinal disturbance, fatigue and weight loss of untreated, these responses can lead to intestinal cancers and complications such as infertility and osteoporosis
Dermatitis herpetiformis is an intensively itchy vesicular rash occurring everywhere in the body, especially on the extensor surfaces (Knees and elbows) and the scalp 100% of patients with dermatitis herpetiformis have celiac disease
Persons with celiac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis must maintain a gluten-free diet for the rest of their lives.
Risk with the gluten-Free diet
People who follow a gluten-free diet may have low levels of certain vitamins and nutrients in their diets. Many grains are enriched with vitamins
Many gluten-free products contain lower amount of nutrients
Persons with gluten-intolerance should ask a dietitian to see if they are getting enough key nutrients from vitamins such as folate, iron, calcium and fiber
All unprocessed gluten-free foods
Always check the actual ingredient list If not sure whether a food contains gluten, don’t buy it or check with the manufacturer first to ask what it contains
Steps to the Gluten-Free Diet
Switching to a gluten-free diet can be difficult in the beginning. Following these 10 steps will make the changes easier:
1.Identify Naturally gluten-free foods at home, many food are naturally gluten-free such as fresh fruits, fresh beef, pork, chicken, fresh eggs, plain beans, plain corn, and oils
2.Identify gluten-free packaged foods at home, some packaged foods have gluten hidden ingredients. Read the ingredients lists
3.Plan one week’s menu around naturally gluten-free foods
4.Make a gluten-free shopping list
5.Read food labels every time you buy a packaged product
6.Avoid cross-contact of gluten containing food and gluten-free foods
7.Eat out and travel gluten-free with ease
8.Eat a balanced diet
9.Identify any additional food intolerances
For a successful transition to the gluten-free lifestyle, persons with gluten intolerance should get support from their doctor, dietitian, family, and friends. Lastly, joining a local celiac disease support group can be very helpful.
Hagman, Bette. 2004. The Gluten-Free Gourment Cooks Comfort Foods: Creating old Favorites with the New Flours. New York, NY: Henry Holt and co.
Korn, Danna. 2001. Kids with Celiac Disease: A Family Guide to Raising Happy, Healthy, Gluten-Free Children. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House Inc.
Lowell, Jax Peters. 2005. The Gluten-Free Bible: The Thoroughly Indispensible Guide to Negotiating Life without wheat. New York, NY: Owl Books.
Tessmer, Kimberly A. 2003. Gluten-Free for a Healthy Life: Nutritional Advice and recipes for those suffering from celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders. Franklin Lakes, NJ: New Page Books.