Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Gluten-free diets are becoming more and more popular and not just for people with celiac disease. Gluten is a protein found in the seeds of certain plants, mostly grains. It gives kneaded dough its elasticity, allows leavening, and contributes to the breads chewiness.  However, in people with celiac disease, gluten can damage the lining of he small intestions.  It affects the absorbtion of foods and can cause severe GI distress, weight loss, diarrhea, and anemia.  Going gluten-free may also have a benefit in a number of other conditions, everything from autism to rheumatoid arthritis to diabetes.  Several leading health experts are recommending gluten-free alternatives for everyone.  Giving up gluten does tend to cut out a lot of junk food, decrease sugar and fat intake, and remove over-processed starches from your diet.  Unless you have celiac disease, you don't have to worry about little things like soy sauce but if you avoid major red flags in the gluten-free diet you may feel better.  Some proponents of the gluten-free diet do advise cutting out all sources of gluten for 30 days and say that any gluten can last for up to 2 weeks in your body.  I think the jury is still out but I am interested to learn more about this topic.

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Gluten-containing grains and products to be avoided:

o Barley

o Bulgar

o Cereal binding

o Couscous

o Graham flour

o Kamut

o Malt and malt extract, flavoring, syrup

o Oat bran

o Oats

o Rye

o Semolina

o Spelt

o What and what bran, germ, starch

Common foods containing gluten:

o Breads

o Rolls

o Biscuits

o Croissants

o Doughnuts

o Flour tortillas

o Chicken nuggets

o Croutons

o Breaded fish

o Hamburger buns

o Waffles

o Bagels

o Ice cream cones

o Pastas

o Fried vegetables

o Graham crackers

o Crackers

o Pita bread

o Pretzels

o Corn bread

o French fries

o Toast

o Stuffing

o Cereals

o Pizza

o Cookies

o Pies

o Cakes

o Pastries

o Cupcakes

Foods with Hidden Gluten:

o Alcohol products made from grains

o Lunch meats, cold cuts

o Hot dogs

o Hamburgers

o Frozen dinners

o Soy sauce

o Pickles

o Salad dressings

o Canned baked beans

o Conventional yogurt

o Non-dairy creamer

o Syrups

o Root beer

o Gum

o Instant coffee

Key nutrients commonly found to be deficient in those with gluten sensitivities:

o Vitamin B12

o Folic acid

o Iron

o Calcium

o Vitamin D

o Riboflavin

o Thiamin

o Niacin

o Vitamin B6

o Fiber

Grains Allowed in a Gluten-free diet:

o Amaranth

o Arrowroot

o Bean flours

o Buckwheat

o Corn

o Millet

o Nut flours

o Potato

o Quinoa

o Rice

o Soy

o Sorghum

o Tapioca

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