Gluten free label simply means the food does not contain
gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and other similar grains. Gluten can also be used as an
additive in food for flavour or to thicken and stabilize it. It is referred to as dextrin.
People with certain disorders cannot ingest food with gluten. Patients with celiac disease, dermatitis
herpetiformis and wheat allergy, all require a gluten free diet.
People afflicted with celiac disease often experience symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea, abdominal cramps,
farting, vitamin deficiencies, weight loss and mineral loss once gluten reaches the small intestine. This is
because celiac disease can cause injury to the small intestine lining if gluten is eaten.
The way to treat this ailment is to refrain from eating any foods that contain gluten. This will enable the injured
intestine lining to heal naturally.
This disorder is due to genetics. People with a certain gene can develop celiac disease later in life. In most
cases, around 9 out of 10 people with the ailment are not even aware of their condition. This however can be
determined by a routine blood test.
A totally gluten free diet can pose a special dilemma. It is hard to determine if some grains have gluten or not.
However, the conscious effort of sticking to gluten free diet at all times can help the celiac disease sufferer
immensely. Since gluten free foods are the only medically accepted cure for celiac disease, then the patient
basically has no other choice except to consume only gluten free foods for the rest of his life.
It is beneficial for the patient to eat only those that do not have any components of wheat, barley and rye in it.
If you are unsure of a certain food, it is best to consult it to a registered dietitian before including it in your
To replace wheat in your diet, you should consider some starch and grains that are gluten free. Corn,
rice, tapioca, potatoes, corn, potato, soybeans, arrowroot, carob, taro, buckwheat, teff, chia seed, millet,
amaranth, yam and quinoa are all gluten free and can be eaten at desired quantity.
Pure buckwheat which is often mistaken for a wheat is also a gluten free alternative. If the buckwheat is mixed
with wheat flour then it should not be included in the diet.
Gluten may sometimes be mixed as an additive, which makes it even harder to know beforehand of its presence. It is,
for instance, used as a stabilizing and thickening agent in some products such as ketchup and ice
A number of products other than food have wheat or barley additives. These include vitamins, over the counter
medications, prescribed medicines, lip gloss, lipstick, lip balms and even ordinary glue. All these may add gluten
as an ingredient.
Some products do not include gluten in the list of ingredients when, in fact, they utilized gluten at some point.
The reason for this is that gluten could have been used in the preparation not in the formulation. For instance,
they may dust the pan with barley flour to prevent the cookie from sticking. This is the reason why a gluten free
diet requires special care when it comes to checking the ingredients of food products.