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:
Gas Bloating Constipation Diarrhea
Abdominal Pain Unexplained Weight Loss Anemia Distended Abdomen
Bone Pain Joint Pain Fatigue Vitamin Deficiencies
Mineral Deficiencies Delayed Growth In Children Failure To Thrive In Infants Tooth 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
Bagels Biscuits Bread Bread Crumbs Breaded Fish Breaded Meats
Breaded Fish Bread Pudding Cake Cereal Chicken Nuggets Croissants
Cookies Crackers Croutons Doughnuts Dumplings Flour
Flour Tortillas Fried Vegetables Graham Crackers Hamburger Buns Hotdog Buns Ice Cream Cones
Macaroni Melba Toast Muffins Noodles Pancakes Pasta
Pastries Pie Crusts Pizza Crust Rolls Spaghetti Stuffing
Tabbouleh Waffles

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
Beer Beverage Mixes Bologna Candy (Some) Canned Baked Beans Cold Cuts
Cerials (Packaged) Canned Broth Chocolate Milk Canned Soup Custard Fruit Fillings
Gravy Gum Hot Dogs Ice Cream Non-Dairy Creamer Potato Chips
Pudding Root Beer Syrups Salad Dressing Vegetables (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
Barley Barley Grass Binders Blue Cheese Bouillion Bran
Brewers Yeast Bulgar Cereal Binding Chilton Couscous Durhum
Edible Starch Emulsifiers Farina Fillers Hydrolyzed Plant Protein Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
Kamut Kasha Malt Malt Flavoring Malt Vinegar Matzo
MSG Natural Flavor Rye Seitan Semolina Some Spice Mixtures
Soy Sauce Spelt Stabilizer Suet Teriyaki Sauce Vegetable Protein (TVP)
Wheat Wheat Grass Wheat 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 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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