A Quick Overview of Foods Containing Gluten
Knowing and understanding the various foods containing gluten is very important to many people. Although some people are on a gluten-free diet due to weight issues, other people simply can’t tolerate gluten because of certain medical conditions.
So what, exactly, is gluten?
Gluten is basically a form of protein that can be found in wheat, barley, and rye. The grains in these wheat contain prolamins which are problems for people who are unable to handle gluten. When it comes to food such as pasta, the gluten is really what holds it together and acts as an elastic agent.
Sometimes, gluten is simply used as a source of protein. In some Asian countries, for instance, it can be used as a substitution for protein in food like burgers in order to make them feel more like meat. It can also be used in bread in the United States in order to make the bread denser.
Occasionally, people are unable to tolerate foods that contain gluten. Individuals suffering from Coeliac disease or that have overall gluten intolerance should try to avoid gluten. Individuals that have Dermatitis Herpetiformis, a skin condition should also try to stay away from gluten-based products. Instead, they might want to eat alternative wheat products.
For people with Coeliac disease, foods that contain gluten can damage the small intestine. It can also cause side effects like bloating, nausea, upset stomach, distended abdomen, constipation, diarrhea, fatigue, and migraines. Knowing the different foods containing gluten can make it easier to make healthy food choices.
Grains and other baked goods that contain gluten are fairly easy to recognize. Some foods to try and avoid in this category include bran-based products, Muesli, scones, anything made with breadcrumbs, muffins, pastas other than those marked “gluten free”, pretzels, bread and rolls, scones, barley water drinks, muffins, and Yorkshire pudding.
There are also foods that contain hidden gluten. In these foods, there might not be gluten in the food themselves, but gluten products can be added in the production of them. These can be more difficult to detect, but can still cause risks to those individuals that suffer from Coeliac disease. Some foods to stay away from in this category are self-basting turkeys, matzo flour, bleu cheese, meat and fish pastes, white pepper, malt vinegar, dry mustard powder, instant coffee which could be made with flour, beer and lager, imitation crab meat, and baked beans which could contain gluten in the tomato sauce.
Luckily, there are some “gluten-free” versions of some popular food. These are generally safe to consume. However, don’t confuse “wheat free” with “gluten free”, as they are not the same thing. In addition, there is no law that states that all form of gluten must be listed as ingredients. That is another reason why knowing the different foods that contain gluten is important.
Still, looking at the ingredients list of your favorite foods can be helpful. Some ingredients that you should avoid are barely, bouillon, bran, farina, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, kamut, malt, modified food starch, suet, caramel coloring, wheat grass, and wheat germ.
When it comes to alcohol, it is best to avoid beer, lagers, and ales. Other alcohols like vodkas and scotch are distilled which takes the gluten out of them. Therefore, they are safer to drink. Sometimes, when alcohol is mixed with food that contains gluten, however, the effects of the gluten can be intensified. Sometimes an individual with Coeliac disease might have an infection which alcohol can irritate as well.
Understanding the foods that you should avoid can go a long way when you are trying to take care of your overall health. If you have any concerns about what food to avoid and what is acceptable to eat then talking to your physician, and possible a nutritionist, is a good place to begin.