What Is Gluten-Free?


bread glutenThe simple answer is foods without gluten. But what, exactly, is gluten? Gluten is the general name for proteins found in wheat, barley, and triticale. Gluten is the substance that gives dough it’s elasticity.

Is gluten bad?

Not necessarily, as it is a naturally occurring protein. However, for someone with an intolerance to gluten or celiac disease, gluten can trigger an immune response that can damage the intestines.

Is there a test for gluten intolerance?

Yes and no. There is a test your doctor can perform to determine whether or not you have celiac disease. For just an intolerance to gluten, there is no test, though a doctor may be able to determine if changes in diet would assist with any gluten intolerance symptoms.

Should I eat only gluten-free?

Eating gluten-free is great if you need to manage celiac disease (as diagnosed by a doctor), control dermatitis herpetiformis (a form of celiac disease that causes the immune system to attach the skin, or reduce symptoms of gluten sensitivity. However, gluten is not a bad thing to consume and it is not a good idea to go gluten-free in an attempt to self-diagnose an issue. As always, simply eating a healthy diet is what is best unless there are specific reasons (diagnoses) to eat specific items.

What foods contain gluten?

Foods that contain gluten include wheat, rye, barley, and any foods made with these ingredients. Some foods that are naturally gluten-free, such as oats, can contain gluten if they were processed in a plant that processes other types of foods. For more information on what foods contain gluten, including some foods that may surprise you, click here.

Remember, if you think you may have a gluten intolerance or celiac disease, the best thing to do is talk to your doctor about it and ask for his/her dietary recommendations.