What Is Gluten?

To put it simply, gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. This seemingly harmless protein triggers an immune response in the small intestine of people with gluten intolerance and those with celiac disease. This means the body creates antibodies to fight the gluten, thinking it is a foreign invader. In the process of fighting the gluten, the antibodies also attack the villi of the small intestine, creating all sorts of gastrointestinal and non-gastrointestinal symptoms and discomfort. Actual symptoms vary, and some afflicted with celiac disease suffer no symptoms at all.

Some Signs Of Celiac Include:
Abdominal PainUnexplained Weight LossAnemiaDistended Abdomen
Bone PainJoint PainFatigueVitamin Deficiencies
Mineral DeficienciesDelayed Growth In ChildrenFailure To Thrive In InfantsTooth Abnormalities

Recognizing grains that contain gluten is the easy part. Wheat, barley, and rye are all off-limits. Experts in the United States feel oats should also be forbidden due to dangers of cross-contamination. That means the following items are usually sources of gluten (the exception would be specially-made gluten-free versions):

List Of Foods Containing Gluten
BagelsBiscuitsBreadBread CrumbsBreaded FishBreaded Meats
Breaded FishBread PuddingCakeCerealChicken NuggetsCroissants
Flour TortillasFried VegetablesGraham CrackersHamburger BunsHotdog BunsIce Cream Cones
MacaroniMelba ToastMuffinsNoodlesPancakesPasta
PastriesPie CrustsPizza CrustRollsSpaghettiStuffing

You probably weren't surprised to learn that cakes, cookies, and all the other floury snacks contain gluten. After all, they're made primarily of wheat flour. The following list, on the other hand, may surprise you. These are foods that usually or often contain gluten. In some cases, wheat is added as a thickener and barley malt is often added as a form of natural flavor. You must read the labels of these items carefully to look for gluten containing ingredients. Even better, look for products specifically labeled "gluten-free."

Foods You Wouldn't Expect To Have Gluten
BeerBeverage MixesBolognaCandy (Some)Canned Baked BeansCold Cuts
Cerials (Packaged)Canned BrothChocolate MilkCanned SoupCustardFruit Fillings
GravyGumHot DogsIce CreamNon-Dairy CreamerPotato Chips
PuddingRoot BeerSyrupsSalad DressingVegetables (Packaged)

The tricky part is recognizing hidden gluten. By law, wheat must be clearly identified on labels. If wheat is listed, you know you can't eat the food. Unfortunately, "wheat free" doesn't equate to "gluten-free" and the law doesn't currently require all forms of gluten to be listed. Since barely, rye, oats, and their derivatives are all natural foods, they can sometimes be listed under fairly innocuous sounding names. That's why everyone with celiac diesease or gluten intolerance, including children, must learn to recognize sources of hidden gluten. Study the ingredient list of all prepared foods and avoid those containing:

Ingredients With Hidden Gluten
BarleyBarley GrassBindersBlue CheeseBouillionBran
Brewers YeastBulgarCereal BindingChiltonCouscousDurhum
Edible StarchEmulsifiersFarinaFillersHydrolyzed Plant ProteinHydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
KamutKashaMaltMalt FlavoringMalt VinegarMatzo
MSGNatural FlavorRyeSeitanSemolinaSome Spice Mixtures
Soy SauceSpeltStabilizerSuetTeriyaki SauceVegetable Protein (TVP)
WheatWheat GrassWheat Protein

Although the list of forbidden foods is long, there is a growing abundance of specialty gluten-free foods, including breads, bagels, cake mixes, cookies, and muffins.

It's important to note that the intestines are being damaged even without noticeable symptoms, and that's why it's critical for those with gluten intolerance or celiac disease to avoid all foods on the list of foods containing gluten.

Gluten Information: Natural News 4/30/2011 - Avoid The Gluten Epidemic

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Gluten Information: Natural News 4/2/2012 - Eliminating Gluten From The Diet Can Relieve Brain Fog (Mental Confusion)

Gluten Information: Natural News 7/13/2012 - Gluten - The Hidden Killer

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Gluten Information: Natural News 2/25/2013 - Watch Out For These 10 Hidden Sources Of Gluten

Gluten Information: Natural News 4/9/2013 - Mesquite Flour: A Nutritious, Gluten Free Substitute To White Flour

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Gluten Information: Natural News 6/1/2013 - Beating Gluten Intolerance

Gluten Information: Natural News 3/17/2014 - Gluten And Inflammatory Disorders Of The Brain And Nervous System

Gluten Information: Jon Barron 8/27/2011 - Gluten-Free Isn't Always Gluten Free

Gluten Information: Web MD. 5/1/2011 - Going Gluten Free

Gluten Information: Dr. Mercola 5/1/2011 - If Your Child Has ADHD, Stop Feeding Them Gluten

Gluten Information: Dr. Mercola 6/22/2013 - Research Links Gluten Grains To Schizophrenia

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