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What Is Gluten?

If you are concerned about gluten intolerance or gluten allergies, this is the article for you. We’ll explain gluten intolerance, discuss what gluten free means and what a gluten free diet consists of, explore places to purchase gluten free food and also discuss the other health risks that being gluten intolerant can pose. Read on to learn more about gluten!

What is gluten intolerance?

Gluten intolerance is when an individual cannot consume gluten without an adverse reaction. Symptoms can vary from individual to individual. Common symptoms include diarrhea, bloating and gas, abdominal pain and mental fogginess to name just a few. One way to determine if gluten is causing your symptoms is to eat a gluten free diet for a period of several weeks to see if the symptoms dissipate.

What does gluten free mean?

Gluten free means a food that does not contain gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. While oats do not technically contain gluten, it is generally categorized as a gluten containing food because it is processed with other grains that do contain gluten and becomes contaminated.

What is a gluten free diet?

Eating gluten free consists of avoiding all foods that contain wheat, rye, barley and oats – and any derivative of those grains. At first glance it seems simple enough, until you discover that many ingredients contain a wheat, rye or barley byproduct. Cooking your own food is the best way to begin a gluten free diet, and then slowly add processed foods in while being vigilant about checking labels.

Where can I buy gluten free food?

Fortunately gluten free food is widely available. Most grocery stores carry at least a few gluten free products and health food stores are an even better bet. The best selection of all can be found online. There are hundreds of products and lots of retailers who carry specialty items from gluten free pasta to pizza dough – all just a few clicks away.

Does being gluten intolerant have any other health implications?

It can. Some people who are sensitive to gluten have an allergy or a reaction that causes symptoms that are irritating but not life threatening. Others have a more serious disease called celiac disease. Individuals with this disease cannot eat gluten at all because it actively damages their small intestines which leads to nutrient loss and in extreme cases can be life threatening. If you’re concerned that you may have celiac disease be sure to see a healthcare professional right away. (For more information on this topic, be sure to read our article on celiac disease symptoms.)

FAQ About Gluten

What You Should Know about Gluten

If you’re looking to live a healthy lifestyle understanding gluten and how it impacts some people is important. Gluten intolerance is becoming more and more widespread. In this article we’ll define gluten, discuss gluten intolerance and its symptoms and then cover some of the foods that are available that are gluten free. If you’ve experienced any digestive issues understanding gluten can be an important step toward healthy living.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein that is found in some grains – notably wheat, rye and barley. Gluten is what gives dough its elastic nature. Gluten is sometimes used as an additive for flavor or as a thickening agent making it difficult to detect in some food products.

What is Gluten Intolerance?

Some people are unable to properly digest gluten. This can be caused by conditions such as celiac, or by other types of gluten intolerance. One easy way to determine if you are gluten intolerant is to ask your doctor for a gluten intolerance test. Another way is to look for symptoms. For some people, gluten intolerance is a physical thing. They notice gluten intolerance symptoms like indigestion, diarrhea or bloating. For others, gluten intolerance produces psychological issues like moodiness, depression and lack of focus. Some people experience a combination of symptoms. The most common symptoms are abdominal pain and diarrhea usually occurring about 6 hours after ingesting food containing gluten.

What Kinds of Foods are Gluten Free?

Fortunately those who suffer from gluten intolerance will find a wide variety of foods from which to choose. All fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, meats and eggs are free of gluten. Within those categories there is an abundance of food choices. Gluten free does not mean giving up all grains either – rice, amaranth and buckwheat are just a few of the grains that do not contain gluten. More and more products are being introduced every day – baking mixes, flours, pizza dough – all made with gluten free ingredients. Choosing to live gluten free does not mean sacrificing any of your favorite foods.

If you find yourself experiencing any kind of digestive upset several hours after ingesting wheat or products containing gluten, you may want to try a gluten free diet for a period of time. If your symptoms lessen or disappear entirely then there is a good chance that you are gluten intolerant. It’s an easy, risk free way of troubleshooting the issue. With the wide variety of gluten free products available there is no issue with making all your favorite wheat products, only without the wheat. Give it a try, you and your family will be glad you did!