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Facts you might not know about gluten

Friday, April 08, 2011 by: Cindy Jones-Shoeman
Tags: gluten, sensitivity, health news

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(NaturalNews) Many people are growing interested in following a gluten-free diet. Whether a person suffers from gluten sensitivity or has full-blown celiac disease, following a gluten-free diet can be beneficial to people for numerous reasons already discussed on this website. So, if a person has chosen to follow a gluten-free diet, there are some things he or she might be interested in learning.

1) Quinoa (a grain-like seed) is gluten free (and tasty to boot!). Unlike a lot of plant foods, quinoa is a complete protein. Luckily for people trying to follow a gluten-free diet, rice, millet, corn, and amaranth are also free of gluten. Gluten-sensitive people don't need to sacrifice; they simply need to switch. For example, instead of eating wheat bread, people with gluten intolerance can eat bread made of rice flour. (Grains to look out for that do contain gluten are wheat, rye, barley, bulgur wheat, and spelt.)

2) Wheatgrass is reportedly safe for those who are gluten intolerant. It's because the gluten develops in the wheat seed/germ, rather than in the wheat grass itself. While sprouting wheat berries and such make them easier to tolerate for those who are sensitive, those with celiac disease (gluten intolerance) should probably avoid wheat products altogether, including wheatgrass.

3) Despite what people may have heard, gluten is only found in nature in wheat, barley, and rye products. However, that means a lot more than many people may realize. For example, triticale is a no-no because it is a cross between rye and wheat. Also, some people might not know that spelt and kamut are products of wheat and so they are also dangerous to someone who is gluten intolerant. Finally, those who are gluten sensitive need to exercise caution with processed foods. There are so many foods that contain gluten, many more than some people may realize; for example, beer is off limits, as are many soy sauces and gravies. When in doubt, read the label.

Eating gluten free isn't difficult once a person knows what to look for. Fortunately, there are many alternatives to grains that have glutens. Being familiar with varieties of grains with glutens and reading labels of products that aren't well known are key to one's success.


About the author

Cindy Jones-Shoeman is the author of Last Sunset and a Feature Writer for Academic Writing at Suite101.
Some of Cindy's interests include environmental issues, vegetarian and sustainable lifestyles, music, and reading.
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