What Does Gluten Free Mean?
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Mar 31 2008

What Does Gluten Free Mean?

Have you ever heard of someone mentioning they were on a gluten free diet, but it didn’t look like they needed to lose weight? Or maybe you know someone who rarely eats in public? Even if neither of these apply to you, each day the odds improve that you will come across the term Gluten Free Diet.

So, what exactly does it mean to be on a gluten free diet? Typically this diet is associated with treating people that have Celiac (Coeliac) disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder of the small bowel that occurs in genetically predisposed people of all ages from middle infancy.  While difficult to diagnose, each day doctors are correctly diagnosing more people with the disease based on their Celiac symptoms.  Treatment of the disease typically involves being on a gluten free diet.

What foods contain gluten?

A gluten free diet is a diet completely free of ingredients derived from gluten-containing foods: wheat (including Kamut and spelt), barley, rye, oats and triticale, as well as the use of gluten as a food additive in the form of a flavoring, stablizing or thickening agent. Although most patients can tolerate oat products, there is a controversy about including them in a gluten free diet: some medical practitioners say they may be permitted, but the Celiac Society advises against them.

What foods are gluten free?

Several grains and starch sources are considered acceptable for a gluten-free diet. The most frequently used are maize (corn), potatoes, rice, and tapioca (derived from cassava). Other grains and starch sources generally considered suitable for gluten-free diets include amaranth, arrowroot, millet, montina, lupine, quinoa, sorghum (jowar), sweet potato, taro, teff, and yam. Various types of bean, soybean, and nut flours are sometimes used in gluten-free products to add protein and dietary fiber. In spite of its name, buckwheat is not related to wheat; pure buckwheat is considered acceptable for a gluten-free diet, although many commercial buckwheat products are actually mixtures of wheat and buckwheat flours, and thus not acceptable. Gram flour, derived from chickpeas, is also gluten free.

Gluten is also used in foods in some unexpected ways, for example as a stabilizing agent or thickener in products like ice cream and ketchup

People wishing to follow a completely gluten free diet must also take into consideration the ingredients of any over-the-counter or prescription medications and vitamins. Also, cosmetics such as lipstick, lip balms, and lip chap may contain gluten and need to be investigated before use.

Living on a Gluten Free Diet

People diagnosed with Celiac Disease will often become anti-social, prefering the comfort of their own cooking over the hassle of trying to find gluten free foods out in the world. This also reduces the risk of cross-contamination, which is always something people on the diet need to be wary of.

As more people are either diagnosed with Celiac Disease or know someone how is, things have steadily been improving for people who want to become more social.

If you would like to find tasty and affordable gluten free products online, Gluten Free Resource recommends the products available at Gluten Free dot comGluten Free Mall, or Gluten Free Online. I’ve purchased from all three and really enjoy the foods and products they offer.

Article Written by:

Kyle Eslick is the founder of Gluten Free Media, as well as the creator of the popular Celiac Support Groups page. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and now Google+!

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  • gloria landriault

    how do you know if you are in need of gluetin free diet?
    I do bloat on past’s too much bread whole wheat .

  • e.b

    i have diverticulits is it necessary to eat gluten free

  • Sheree

    I am starting a Gluten freee wheat free life change. I am starting a support group via monthly Meet Ups in San Jose CA. Bi-Weekly conference calls and emails for support and recipes. Also Facebook for testimonials meaning feelings goals and success stories. Please assist in every day three meals a day three snacks under 1200 calories easy to make daily menus.

    Many Blessings,

    Many Bless

    • jeana

      would love your help with a gluten free diet as do not know where to begin……best jeana

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  • isabel

    what does No Gluten Source mean?

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