Foods Containing Gluten

An Overview Of Foods Containing Gluten

At first glance, a list of foods containing gluten seems to be quite long, and includes a high percentage of food items we eat every day. One could come away with the impression that not eating any foods containing gluten is a sure road to starvation. In truth, quite the opposite is the case. A person having a gluten intolerance could either suffer a violent reaction to foods containing gluten, and not be able to eat any of them, or have a mild reaction in which case the food eaten would not be properly processed. Malnutrition might then be a real possibility.

A closer look reveals that foods containing gluten have something in common. They are grain based, and the grains in question, which contain the form of protein called gluten, are wheat, rye, and barley. Some people cannot tolerate ingesting any of these grains; others are affected by only one or two of them.

Most of the foods containing gluten therefore fall in the category of breads, cakes, and other baked goods, containing one of the offending grains. Whole wheat and rye breads, muffins, biscuits, and many cookies and cakes made from wheat flour, will be included in the list of things not to eat. Pastas, including macaroni and spaghetti, are also on the forbidden list, although gluten free pasta is available. Many breakfast cereals contain wheat, and therefore contain gluten. As far as cereals made from oats, the jury is still out, so oats should probably not be included in a gluten free diet.

If the above list makes you somewhat sad, and you want to drown your sorrows in drink (never a good idea), you'll have to choose something other than beer. Most beers contain barley malt, a very good source of gluten! There are gluten-free beers on the market, but you may have to do some looking.

So when you're putting together a list of items for a gluten-free diet, it obviously won't include any of the foods mentioned above. There are other foods however in which the presence of gluten is not at all obvious. Some of these have gluten in tiny amounts, which may be all right for someone who only suffers from a mild disorder, but will still cause problems for anyone with a true allergy to gluten. Many of these products serve as fillers or binders, and containing flour or powders which may have one of the gluten-rich grains as a base ingredient. This list is quite varied and can include anything from gravy mixes, to sausages, some soups, instant coffee, and mustard powder. In the latter two items, flour is often added as a filler. Other spices and powders, curry powder for example, may be bulked out with wheat flour or malt (barley).

In some cases, hopefully not many, you may have to learn from experience when eating processed foods. Reading the ingredients will of course help in many cases, but at times gluten may be introduced during the processing of a food item (such as flour on a baking pan) even though it is not a listed ingredient. Someone could offer you a gluten free cookie with a gloved hand, which just happened to be handling wheat flour a few moments earlier. As difficult as it may seem, you do have to be on constant alert if you simply have to avoid foods containing gluten. Don't be afraid to mention your condition to others. Otherwise they might think you are just being overly choosy in what you eat. In truth you are, but you have good reason to be.