If you live in Los Angeles one of the common phrases you may hear is “I’m gluten-free.” Many go on gluten-free diets thinking it will help them lose weight or solve a health issue.
What does gluten-free really mean?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye products. Most cereals and breads contain gluten. Gluten-containing grains include wheat, barley, bulgur, couscous, matzo, spelt and rye. Some oat products have questionable amounts of gluten.
Examples of gluten-free grains include brown or wild rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, sorghum, teff, and amaranth.
Eating gluten-free is a must for those with celiac disease, who face real risks from ingesting gluten. For those with gluten sensitivity, the restriction may not be as critical, but is a way to help control adverse reactions such as headaches or fatigue.
Those with gluten sensitivity may also feel bloated when eating gluten containing products or other diverse symptoms.
There are limited tests that show gluten sensitivity but the best one is your own experiment.
Try going gluten-free for 30 days – if your symptoms go away and you feel a better or have an improved sense of well being you are probably in the gluten sensitive category. If not, there is other reason for your symptoms.
Limiting your intake of gluten means you are cutting out many starchy, refined carbohydrates, which can help your weight and health.
However, eating gluten-free is not carbohydrate-free as many would think. It can be easy to increase your carbohydrates by eating many gluten-free products. If you’re trying to lower your carbohydrate intake, you’ll have to try a different method.
Pros: Essential for a system that does not tolerate gluten and helps reduce health concerns of those who are sensitive
Cons: Requires restricting all gluten-containing products, as well as diligent label reading and education. For example, frozen French fries are frequently coated with a dusting of flour.
If you suspect you are gluten sensitive I’m compiled a list of foods and additives that contain or can contain gluten. If is extensive but worth exploring is you suspect sensitivity and/or experiencing health issues and can’t come up with a cause.
Acacia, annatto and caramel coloring
Alcohol made from wheat – beer, ale and some hard liquor
Cereals made from gluten-containing grains
Flour, self-rising, enriched or wheat
Hydrolyzed Vegetable protein (HVP)
Hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP)
Instant coffee (Postum)
Malt or cereal extracts
Modified Food Starch
Wheat, wheat products
Prescription meds that contain fillers