Thursday, May 30, 2013

Hidden Gluten in Products

Sources of Gluten
Wheat, barley, and rye are all glutinous and for those with celiacs disease and autoimmune diseases, eliminating gluten is essential in order to manage one's health effectively. Not all people allergic to gluten register sensitivities, but for those who do, a variety of symptoms may be displayed, including the very frequent appearance of skin rashes around the neck, arms and legs.

Wheat, barley, and rye aren't the only grains with gluten, although they are the most common. To the left is a listing of other grains that contain gluten; many of these grains originated from the big three--wheat, barley and rye. 

What is not on the list is oats. Oats does in fact have gluten too, but not in the quantities found in the big three. Also, some oats which are labeled as being gluten-free have been grown and processed with wheat derivatives, therefore, making them toxic to people with gluten allergies although the labeling seems to suggest that those oats are just fine for any to consume.

And following is a list of processed foods that often have gluten disguised.
  • bouillons and broths
  • breading (such as the coating on breaded chicken cutlets, etc.)
  • brown rice syrup (frequently made from barley)
  • cake flour (made from wheat)
  • caramel color (occasionally made from barley)
  • communion wafers
  • couscous
  • creamed or breaded vegetables
  • dextrin (a rare ingredient that may be made from wheat; maltodextrin is OK)
  • dry roasted nuts (processing agents may contain wheat flour or flavorings, and frequently flour is dusted on the rollers to keep nuts moving smoothly through bagging operations)
  • fried chicken
  • french fries (if they've been coated in flour)
  • gravies and sauces (including some tomato and meat sauces)
  • imitation bacon, crab, or other seafood
  • luncheon and processed meats
  • malt or malt flavoring (usually made from barley)
  • marinades
  • matzo
  • modified food starch (most food manufacturers now specify the source of this ingredient; e.g., modified cornstarch, which is OK, or modified wheat starch, which is not)
  • nondairy creamer
  • pastas
  • salad dressings
  • seasonings (pure spices are OK, but check seasoning mixes for gluten-containing additives)
  • some herbal teas and flavored coffees
  • soup mixes and canned soups
  • soy sauce and soy sauce solids (they may be fermented with wheat; don't use them unless you verify they're OK with a dietitian)
  • spreads, soft cheeses, and dips
  • stuffings
  • thickeners
  • udon noodles
  • wheat-free products (many wheat-free cookies and breads contain barley or rye flour, which contain gluten, and other gluten-containing ingredients)
  • yogurts with wheat starch
Be on the lookout for possible cross-contamination. 
Even when eating or preparing foods that are gluten free, if these foods come into contact with foods that contain gluten, there is a risk of cross-contamination. For example, crumbs from regular wheat bread can find their way into jams, spreads, or condiments if people aren't careful to use a fresh knife or utensil each time. Keeping condiments in squeezable bottles and using separate jams and spreads for people with celiacs disease is a great idea. It's also wise to keep a separate toaster for gluten-free bread.
If you bake with products that contain gluten, thoroughly clean appliances, utensils, and work surfaces before preparing gluten-free products. Remember to wash your hands thoroughly and often when you're cooking and preparing food.
In restaurants, tell the server or the kitchen staff about your condition and make sure that they know that it's important to provide food that does not contain any gluten or related ingredients.
Most grocery stores carry some gluten-free bread, cereal, baking mixes, cookies, crackers and other products. Health food stores and natural food markets may have wider selections of these foods. It's not a good idea to use gluten-free products from bulk food bins because of the risk of cross-contamination. And a precaution for those using gluten-free packages: the  cake, cookie and other packages of gluten-free ingredients is usually high in starch (potato, corn, tapioca, etc); starches have no nutritional value but they do create a surge in sugar and over time many people on gluten-free diets have additionally become diabetics ... because of these packaged dietary choices.
Even if you take precautions, chances are you may accidentally ingest gluten at some point. That's OK — a single small amount of gluten ingestion may cause mild inflammation in the gut but probably won't cause any immediate symptoms. Normally, the lining of the small intestine completely renews itself every 3-4 days, so after a single incident the damaged cells are quickly replaced with new ones. However, repeated exposure to gluten will lead to ongoing damage of the intestinal lining.

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