Original post : 10 Feb 2012

So what is Gluten?

What do we understand about Gluten?

Where is gluten found?

Gluten is a protein that is generally known to be found in wheat.  However gluten is also found in other grains such as;

  •       Triticale,
  •       Spelt,
  •       Kamut
  •       Durum
  •       Semolina
  •       Bulgur wheat
  •       Oats (unless gluten free)
  •       Barley
  •       Rye
  •       Couscous

 In what foods is gluten found?

Most commonly gluten is found in:

  •       Bread
  •       Pasta
  •       Cakes
  •       Pastry

Be careful though as it is often added to foods such as:

  •       Sauces
  •       Soups
  •       Ready meals
  •       Sausages

 Be careful to read the food label and check that the food item is gluten free.

Gluten is an allergen and by law it must be mentioned on the packet whether it is contained in the product.

 

What can I eat?

Various supermarkets and manufacturers have available a variety of gluten free foods.

Remember there are a whole range of foods that are gluten free:

  • Rice
  • Potatoes
  • Pulses eg; lentils
  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Diary foods such as cheeses and milk
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit

       Who does it affect?

There are three main sufferers of gluten:

      Those who have a Wheat allergy

      Those who have a Gluten intolerance

      Those who have Coeliac disease

 

      Wheat intolerance

This is a immune response that usually occurs within 2 hours of food being eaten. The response is similar to that of a bee or wasp sting.

 

    Gluten intolerance

This is when the body cannot tolerate gluten being eaten.  Although this is highly and frustrating condition to live with, it does not present itself in the same way as Coeliac disease, and therefore malsboprtion is not a factor.  Depending on the severity, some gluten may be eaten.

 

      Coeliac disease

 This is a auto immune disease where the body starts to attack itself. Antibodies are made by the immune system against a part of the body.  

 In this case the body makes antibodies against the gluten being ingested and as a result attacks the finger like projections called villi in the small intestine.  If it is not treated malabsorption may occur of minerals and vitamins.

 Some symptoms to look out for as there is a long list are:

      Diarrhoea, cramping and bloating

      Lose of weight

      Tiredness

      Depression

 

Coeliac disease is seen as a multi system disorder. It can affect any area of the body and symptoms will vary with different people.

The main group to be diagnosed is between 40 and 60.years old.

 

What to do if you suspect that you have Coeliac Disease?

Go to the doctor for tests.  Do not be tempted to try a gluten free diet, as the antibodies that are screened for will be reduced and the results may be wrong.  Often a biopsy will be needed for a conclusive result.

This article only touches the surface of wheat and gluten intolerance and Coeliac disease.  If you think that you may have either, please visit your doctor for further advice. If you would like me to help you to make some gluten free recipes then please get in touch.

Comments

You can get gluten free foods from:
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www.glutenfree-foods.co.uk
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( I have no connection with this company - just wanted to let people know )
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Comment by Rufus Greenbaum - 11 Feb 2012 08:52
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