You’ve probably noticed ads everywhere claiming a product is gluten-free. Unless you have an allergy you may not know what gluten is or how it affects the body.
Gluten is a protein. It is normally found in breads, flours, cereals, beer, and soy sauce. Here’s another definition from Wikipedia.
Gluten (from Latin gluten, “glue”) is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye. Gluten gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape and often gives the final product a chewy texture. Gluten may also be found in some cosmetics, hair products, and other dermatological preparations.
The problem with gluten is that for some it causes an allergic reaction or some may have an intolerance to the protein. Those who have celiac disease are allergic to gluten and are unable to tolerate foods containing the protein. Your doctor can perform a blood test to determine if you do in fact have celiac disease.
Disclaimer: For more information on celiac disease consult your doctor. The purpose of this post is not to treat or diagnose, as I am not a Physician. I am presenting information based on my own experiences with gluten.
Some of the symptoms of a gluten allergy include:
“Gastrointestinal symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain, bloating, gas, or indigestion
- Decreased appetite (may also be increased or unchanged)
- Diarrhea, either constant or off and on
- Lactose intolerance (common when the person is diagnosed, usually goes away after treatment)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stools that float, are foul-smelling, bloody, or “fatty”
- Unexplained weight loss (although people can be overweight or of normal weight)
Taken from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001280/. Please check out this link for more information.
Some people have swelling, fatigue, irritability, and numerous other issues when consuming gluten. Others have a slight intolerance to gluten. I do not have celiac disease, however, I don’t feel well when eating bread. I went to my Primary Care Physician because it seemed that whenever I ate bread I was immediately fatigued; I felt horrible. So, after the test came back that I did not have an allergy, I started eliminating most gluten from my diet to see if I simply had an intolerance to gluten rich foods. After a few weeks of no gluten I felt increased energy, etc…
Beware though there are many companies trying to make a buck off of people who do not know what gluten is. They place labels on food that read, “Gluten Free,” when the item should not have gluten. Do some research on foods that contain gluten. If you suspect that you have an allergy, talk to your doctor. Gluten may be the cause of your diet being sabotaged. See link above for more info on gluten hindering the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.
Here are some resources for you:
Foods that contain gluten from the American Diabetes Association: http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/planning-meals/gluten-free-diets/what-foods-have-gluten.html
I hope this post will help you with your food choices.
- ^ Harding, Anne (31 October 2011). “Gluten in cosmetics may pose hidden threat to celiac patients”. CNN Health. Retrieved 21 October 2012.