What is Gluten Intolerance?

December 16-22, 2012 is Gluten Free Baking Week.

Some people may not even know they have an allergy to gluten, so, I wanted to talk a bit about just what gluten intolerance is…

What is Gluten Intolerance?

What is gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, triticale (combo between wheat and rye), rye and its derivatives. It’s also found in many processed foods; hidden in canned soup, yogurt, cookies, salad dressing, chocolate bars, ketchup, mustard, vitamins, lipstick, toothpaste, and so forth.

What is gluten intolerance and what are the symptoms?

Gluten intolerance or gluten sensitivity is an immune reaction to gluten. It’s hard to determine if a person has a gluten intolerance or celiac disease because the symptoms are so similar. The only way to be properly diagnosed is through testing.

The symptoms for gluten intolerance are as follows:

*Intense abdominal pain
*Joint pain
*Digestive problems
*Skin rashes
*Weight gain or weight loss
*Brain fog
*Tingling and numbness

Anyone who is gluten intolerant may or may not have symptoms. The symptoms also vary in degree in each person. Stress and other emotional disorders can exacerbate the symptoms.

If you think you may have an allergy to gluten, your best bet is to be tested first for celiac disease. The difference between celiac disease and gluten intolerance is how celiac attacks the immune system causing damage to the lining of the small intestine. When this happens, nutrients aren’t absorbed which can cause malnutrition and other health conditions such as osteoporosis, diabetes, anemia and in some cases bowel or gastrointestinal cancer. The only cure for celiac disease and gluten intolerance is to be gluten-free.

Gluten can also be found in some oats from cross-contamination with wheat. Other foods to avoid are:

*Grain based alcohols and beer
*Other wheat products – bulgur, semolina, spelt, farina, durum flour
*Imitation meats and seafood
*Soy sauce
*Potato and tortilla chips
*French fries
*Soups and soup bases
*Cakes and pies
*Seasoned rice mixes
*Food additives that contain malt
*Some medications and vitamins use gluten as a binding agent

Because so many foods contain gluten, it’s recommended you take a vitamin and mineral supplement. It’s also a good idea to consult with a dietician. Being gluten-free will take time to adjust. You don’t have to eliminate eating cakes and pies, etc. because you can make gluten-free baked goods.

Here are some foods that are gluten-free:

*In their natural form – beans, seeds, nuts
*Fresh eggs
*Fresh meats
*Fruits and vegetables

Read MORE from our Gluten Free Section!

Copyright © Lara Velez, Moms of Faith, All Rights Reserved

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