What is gluten and where is it found? (Yeah, we know science and stuff)
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. It may be found in trace amounts in oats because of cross contamination during processing, but it’s not naturally found in oats. Wheat-derived products can be found in many processed foods such as breads, cakes, pastries, breakfast cereals, processed meats, pasta, noodles, condiments, ice-cream, sweet and savoury snack foods, soy sauce and beer.
Reasons for eating gluten-free?
The medical reasons for choosing a gluten free diet are coeliac disease, gluten sensitivity or wheat allergies.
Coeliac disease is an autoimmune reaction to gluten that causes small intestine damage. Untreated, this leads to malnutrition, inflammation and potentially cancer. If you think you might be gluten intolerant, visit a GP and ask about coeliac testing. Coeliac disease can only be diagnosed with a small bowel biopsy from a gastroenterologist referral. Coeliac’s must follow a strict gluten free diet.
Gluten sensitivity is an alternate diagnosis, when the body doesn’t experience small intestine damage, but other symptoms improve with a gluten free diet, and return when gluten is consumed.
Wheat allergies are most common in children and outgrown before adulthood. An allergy is an over-reaction of the immune system upon ingestion of an allergen, causing symptoms anything from a mild rash to severe anaphylaxis or death. Other grain allergies may be associated with a wheat allergy and a GP should be consulted.
For more information on gluten free eating, visit Coeliac Australia
If you do have any health concerns and think you might be intolerant to particular foods we suggest going to see a health professional such as a Dietitian ASAP, and then you can get back to eating tasty food (we’ll have a table ready waiting for you). Let us keep your tastebuds happy and your tummy satisfied!