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Celiac Disease and a Gluten Free Diet E-mail
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What is Gluten?

Gluten is a form of protein found in wheat (including spelt, semolina and durum), rye, barley and triticale (a hybrid). Each of these grains each have slightly different proteins (gliadin in wheat, secalin in rye and hordein in barley) collectively known as prolamins. These promalins are what cause problems for people who can't tolerate gluten in their diet.

Wheat gluten is a cheap source of protein. Gluten is commonly known as seitan where it is also sometimes added to breads to increase density or improve the texture. In China and Japan pure gluten is more commonly  used as a protein substitute in vegetarian food such as burgers, giving them a "meat like texture."

The gluten in the flour is what makes the paste "elastic" and binds it together. In fact "strong" flour, sold for making bread, has extra gluten added. 

Who Needs a Gluten Free Diet?

People suffering from celiac disease or gluten intolerance need to avoid foods containing gluten in order to live well.  A strict gluten free diet is also the treatment for a related condition called Dermatitis Herpetiformis, which is a severe itchy skin condition. And it is often recommended for people with autism, ADHD (attention deficit disorder) or fibromyalgia.

Gluten and Celiac Disease

Eating foods containing gluten can cause damage to the small intestine for people with celiac disease.

Due to its autoimmune nature, celiac disease attacks the body, causing inflammation and damage to the inside of the small intestine. The normal small intestine features small hair like projections along its length known as villi. The villi increase the surface area of the small intestine and therefore assist in the absorption of the nutrients that the body needs to stay healthy.

The autoimmune response causes so much damage to these villi that they are no longer effective in absorbing nutrients. Changing over to a gluten free diet will allow your body to repair these villi. As a result your health will improve tremendously. 

Gluten Containing Foods and Other Products

Some foods containing gluten are obvious to everyone that needs to follow a gluten free diet, but many could slip by unnoticed. The following list of foods below will help you to avoid gluten if you have celiac disease or suffer a gluten allergy or intolerance.

Gluten Containing Grains and Baked Goods

Bread and bread rolls Rye bread, pumpernickel Yorkshire pudding
Pretzels Cakes Stuffings
Muffins Pastry or pie crust Pancakes
Biscuits or cookies Pasta - macaroni, spaghetti, etc. Crispbreads
Bulgar wheat Durhum Crumble toppings
Coucous Pizza Semolina
Scones Anything in breadcrumbs
All Bran Sponge puddings Sponge puddings
Barley water drinks Malted drinks Muesli


Foods with Hidden Gluten

Other foods containing gluten could trick the unsuspecting newly diagnosed Celiac sufferer into thinking they are safe. The list below shows things that should be checked.


Sausages - often contain rusk Luncheon meat - may contain fillers Blue cheeses (may be made with bread)
Gravy powders and stock cubes such as OXO cubes Matzo flour/meal Shredded suet in packs (flour is normally used to keep the strands separate)
Seitan (doesn't contain gluten, it IS gluten!) Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP) Baked beans (there may be gluten in the tomato sauce)
Farina Meat and fish pastes, pates
Oats - may be bulked out with flour. The general consensus is they do not contain gluten, but the risk of contamination is so high that most people on a gluten free diet avoid them.
Self basting turkeys Sauces - often thickened with flour Alcoholic drinks - such as beer, ale, lager
Soups - may be roux based (made with flour) Mustard - dry mustard powder contains gluten Instant coffee - may be bulked out with flour
Brown rice syrup Cheap brands of chocolate Potato crips/chips - some are OK, read the ingredients!
Soy sauce - only Tamari is OK Drinking chocolate Licorice
Chutneys and pickles Salad dressings Curry powder and other spices (can be bulked out with flour)
White pepper Malt vinegar Some pharmaceutical products
Supplements (binders)
Some toothpastes

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