Gluten is a family of proteins present in wheat, rye, barley, and triticale, a cross between barley and rye. Wheat products like bread, cookies, cereals, crackers, and pasta contain gluten. You can also find gluten in rye-based malt, malt vinegar, beer, or even food coloring. Gluten is a binding agent that helps preserve food shapes. Gluten ingredients can also occur in less obvious foods like soup, spices, canned foods, or dressings.
Gluten in whole grains is not unhealthy for individuals who can digest it properly. Highly processed gluten products, such as white flour, can more readily cause problems. For these processed foods, modified gluten can help create a soft and enjoyable texture and keep moisture more effectively.
Gluten can trigger a mild to severe autoimmune response and other difficult symptoms in some individuals.
#1 Gluten Is Present in More Than Foods
If you need to avoid gluten, you want to carefully review the ingredients list for a variety of other products in which gluten could be present.
Non-food items that may contain gluten include:
- Prescription or over-the-counter medications
- Dietary supplements
- Cosmetic products
- Skin and hair care products
- Toothpaste and mouthwash
- Modeling dough
If the label is not clear, you may want to choose an alternative product to avoid unwanted reactions.
#2 Gluten Is Naturally Absent from These Foods
Naturally gluten-free foods include:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
- Beans and lentils
- Rice, quinoa, and potatoes
- Meat, poultry, and fish
- Eggs and dairy
Opting for plain and unflavored versions of specific foods is usually the safest, although you should always check the packaging to make sure no gluten was added.
Cross-contamination may happen for gluten-free foods, like oats. This can happen due to the use of tools and devices such as cutting boards, utensils, toasters, or shared containers. Carefully reading the ingredient labels, including allergy information and food-processing details, is essential if you cannot eat gluten.
#3 Gluten-Free Foods Are Not All Healthy
When you stop eating gluten, you want to be careful about processed foods, even when they are labeled gluten-free. Besides possible cross-contamination issues, processed foods can remain unhealthy due to food additives, high sugar levels, or too much sodium.
Limiting your junk food intake plays an active role in a healthy and stable weight, regardless of whether you eat gluten or not. It is possible to find gluten-free treats that include healthier ingredients. Eating natural foods and incorporating balanced levels of nutrients are vital for your health.
#4 Gluten Intolerance Should Be Diagnosed by a Doctor
Your doctor can recommend a gluten-free diet if you have:
- Wheat allergy
- Gluten intolerance
- Celiac disease
- Other autoimmune diseases
- Irritable bowel syndrome
It is important to speak to a doctor if you suspect that gluten may cause you health problems. Specific symptoms can point to different medical conditions, and a physician can determine accurately what is going on.
You should see your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms after eating foods with gluten:
- Abdominal pain
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Difficulty focusing
- Joint or muscle pains
- Skin rashes
To test for gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, gluten needs to be present in your system. Your physician can work with you to perform appropriate testing and may request blood tests. If you need to stop consuming gluten, they can help you create a diet plan that meets your nutritional needs.
Contact Soza Weight Loss today at (504) 475-9817 to get started with your wellness journey in Covington, Metairie, or Harvey!